student.union@newcastle.ac.uk

Student Advice Centre FAQs.

Below are some FAQs covering concerns, questions, and issues for many Newcastle University students. If your question has not been answered below and you need further advice, you can book an appointment with an adviser using the booking form at the bottom of the page. Appointments are primarily through Microsoft Teams (all University students have an account): Chat, Call, or Video, although you can request face to face if needed. Keep reading to see our FAQs on housing, finance, academic, and personal issues. We will also periodically update the FAQS on topical issues such as Covid and potential Strike Action.


Appointment Advice

  1. How do I book an appointment?
  2. I need a face-to-face (F2F) appointment can I request one?
  3. Why do I have to fill out this form, can’t you just take my information from the student system?
  4. How long are the SAC appointments?
  5. Will I receive an appointment link if I book an online appointment?
  6. I am a parent/staff member/friend, can I book an appointment for a student I know.
  7. Can I bring somebody who is not a Newcastle University student (eg. a family member) with me to my appointment?
  8. Can a group of us book an appointment together?

Housing Advice FAQs

  1. My tenancy ends before my self-isolation period ends, what can I do?
  2. Can NUSU Student Advice Centre get me out of my contract?
  3. I am having to self-isolate in my student accommodation.  What support can I get?
  4. I am no longer a student, therefore I am no longer in receipt of a student loan, can I cancel my contract?
  5. I have found a shared property and people to share with, but I have never met them before because of COVID, should I sign the contract or not?
  6. I don’t have to waste my student loan on paying rent to my landlord, do I?
  7. I am self-isolating / have tested positive for Coronavirus, can I still move?
  8. Should I view and sign a contract yet?
  9. I am about to move out/in, what shall I do about the Inventory check-in/out report?
  10. What can I expect before I move in?
  11. What can I do with my waste/recycling when I move out?
  12. I can’t afford to pay my rent/living costs as my income has changed. What shall I do?
  13. I have viewed a house and paid a holding deposit but have not signed a Tenancy Agreement, can I back out now?
  14. Can my security deposit just be released to pay my rent?
  15. Is there any specific support for International Students?

Finance Advice FAQs

  1. My family income has changed, can I change my student finance application?
  2. I have finished my studies and have graduated – do I still have an exemption from paying council tax?
  3. What if I need help with my finances?
  4. Do I still have to pay my bills if I am not living in my student accommodation?
  5. What happens to my Student Loans if I am from the EU now the UK is no longer in the EU?
  6. I am a Migrant Worker student, can this continue after Aug 2021?
  7. Can I claim benefits as a student?

Academic FAQs

  1. I have tested positive for Covid 19 and need to self isolate meaning I will not be able to attend my in-person exam. What should I do?
  2. What does ‘The Introduction of a revised policy for the late submission of assessed work’ mean?
  3. I am a PGT student, what are my resit entitlements?
  4. Will Newcastle University be offering rapid testing on Campus?
  5. What should I do if I test positive after taking a rapid test?
  6. Will I get a refund on tuition fees for any reduced teaching time due to the pandemic?
  7. How can I access my university files remotely?
  8. I am having trouble contacting my Supervisor, who can I contact?

Personal Advice FAQs

  1. I am recently bereaved, or I know someone who is, where can I get support?
  2. I’m personally finding all this very difficult to deal with, can anyone help?
  3. I need to talk to someone anonymously. Is this possible?
  4. I feel like I need tailored support due to my identity, where can I go?
  5. I'm experiencing domestic abuse, what help is available for me?
  6. I have recently lost someone due to alcohol/drug misuse, where can I get support?
  7. I am worried about a friend who has taken drugs, where can I get help?

Immigration Advice FAQs

  1. General help 

Appointment FAQS

How do I book an appointment with the SAC?

To book an appointment please complete our online booking form. Our front-of-house staff will contact you as soon as they can with appointment options.

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I need a face-to-face (F2F) appointment can I request one?

Yes, if you require a face-to-face appointment, please select this option when completing our booking form. As staff are working flexibly, the adviser you need might not be in the SAC office every day, meaning you might not be offered a F2F appointment for the same day. Our administrator will contact you with the available F2F and online appointments. Please note, the availability of face-to-face could change in response to the current Covid 19 situation. 

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Why do I have to fill out this form, can’t you just take my information from the student system?

We are the Students’ Union and therefore totally separate from the University.  This means we cannot access their student systems and they cannot access ours.  We need this information from you so we can help you with the correct advice for your circumstances.

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How long are the SAC appointments?

Our appointments are up to 40 minutes, either online or face to face.

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Will I receive an appointment link if I book an online appointment?

No, your adviser will send you a message on Microsoft Teams at the time of your appointment. You can log into Teams using your university login details. If you require a zoom appointment, we will send you the zoom link and password via email.

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I am a parent/staff member/friend, can I book an appointment for a student I know.

No, you cannot book an appointment on behalf of somebody else. The student who is needing advice will need to submit a booking form themselves. This is to ensure we get accurate information and can confirm that they would like to book an appointment with us. If you know somebody who you think would benefit from speaking with us, please point them to our web pages and booking form.

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Can I bring somebody who is not a Newcastle University student (eg family member) with me to my appointment?

Please inform us in advance of the appointment if you intend to bring somebody with you as a supporter. As you are the student, the appointment is to discuss your issue and the adviser will speak with you directly. Your supporter is unable to attend the appointment on your behalf or speak for you.

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Can a group of us book an appointment together?

Yes, we offer online group appointments for up to 3 students. Group appointments are mostly suitable for housing issues, although are not exclusive. If you would like to request a group appointment for a different advice area, please specify in your booking form and our Front of House staff will contact you to inform you whether this is suitable. All group members need to be Newcastle university students and all members need to complete the booking form.  

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Housing FAQS

My tenancy ends before my self-isolation period ends, what can I do?

Please have a read of our article on this. 

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Can NUSU Student Advice Centre get me out of my contract?

No. The Student Advice Centre staff cannot change contract law and legislation.  We can only advise on what your current position is and what options you might have.  

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I am having to self-isolate in my student accommodation.  What support can I get?

The University has a range of Wellbeing self-isolation support in place to support you from activities and events, mental health support, and counselling to various online resources.  There are also lots of links to resources on the NUSU Covid 19 hub.

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I am no longer a student, therefore I am no longer in receipt of a student loan, can I cancel my contract?

Generally speaking no.  However, if you are in University-owned and managed accommodation, then their contract and Terms and Conditions are slightly different, and you will usually be charged until the end of the current termly billing period in which you withdraw from study unless you find a replacement before that time. Please do not assume your school will notify the Accommodation Service – you will need to do this.  Whereas in managed partnership accommodation (i.e.allocated by the University but not managed by them), private halls, or private properties let via landlords or agents, you are likely to be held to the full duration of your contract.  Always check the terms of your contract, any terms and conditions, or cancellation policy.  The terms and conditions of your contract might permit a replacement to take over your tenancy but charges might apply for this.  Any charges that do apply, are restricted by the Tenant Fee Act 2019 – see guidance for tenants.  

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I have found a shared property and people to share with, but I have never met them before because of COVID, should I sign the contract or not?

First of all, check your contract and terms and conditions and cancellation policies. Purpose Built Student Accommodation often has a limited cancellation policy whereas houses and flats let via landlords and agents do not. There is an argument to say that if you have not been able to arrive by virtue of having a VISA denied or being unable to apply for one and/or your home and host governments preventing travel, the contract might be frustrating. However, you will need to prove this. Simply not having applied for a VISA or have decided not to come is not the same and you would be liable for the contract. This can be complicated and you might want to book in with an Adviser or get some legal advice

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I don’t have to waste my student loan on paying rent to my landlord, do I?

If you have a contract you are liable for the rent.  If your landlord has not agreed to a surrender of the tenancy or a delayed/reduced rent payment then you could be pursued for the unpaid rent and breach of contract.  The maintenance loan is paid for you to pay for these types of outgoings.  

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I am self-isolating / have tested positive for Coronavirus, can I still move?

No. If you pose a direct risk of transmitting Covid-19 you should not move. People who have coronavirus or are self-isolating with their family members should not leave their homes to either move home or undertake property viewings. Follow the government giodance on what you can or cannot do.he government guidance on home moving during the virus. 

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Even if you are contractually committed to moving home, you should delay your move until all members of your household have come to the end of their self-isolation period. All parties involved in the moving process are asked to make arrangements and to consider changing move dates for individuals, or where someone in a chain or their family member is self-isolating or has tested positive for coronavirus. If the dates are not able to be changed then the contract might have to commence without you moving in and you will still be liable for the rent. 

Should a move be essential  please contact Public Health England/local public health teams for advice. 

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Should I view and sign a contract yet?

Even though we have moved to step 4 of the governments roadmap out of lockdown, we cannot know if circumstances will change and if further lockdowns might be necessary. So this is a very difficult question to answer.  Some people have felt paying for accommodation this year has not been worthwhile whilst others still see the benefit of living independently or in a new place. We advise you to think very carefully before you decide what to do. We have seen throughout this crisis an expectation by students’ that rents and contracts should be waived because of the changing situation but this is simply not the case. If you sign a contract you can reasonably be expected to understand that the pandemic may continue to affect your commencement/occupation of that property due to a variety of factors. If you intend to sign a contract we advise you to discuss and agree on the terms very carefully. Flexibility policies and clauses that would allow you to change your contract start date might be an option along with the ability to cancel should you not move in but these are not something you can demand. These are more likely to be offered in Private Halls rather than individual houses and flats. You could try to negotiate an early break clause into your contract so you could end your contract earlier than an agreed term, you can book in with a Student Adviser if you wish to discuss this more.

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I am about to move out/in, what shall I do about the Inventory check-in/out report?

Letting agents may also want to consider obtaining landlord and tenant consent for inventory check-in /out arrangements to occur before a tenant moves in or out during vacant periods if possible. A copy of all documents should then be sent to the incoming/outgoing tenant for comment along with supporting dated photographs and where necessary documentary evidence. It is very important this process is not side-lined or missed entirely as deposits could be at risk.

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What can I expect before I move in?

Tenants’ safety should be Housing managers / Letting Agents’ and Landlords’ first priority. The government guidance on coronavirus and renting for landlords, tenants and local authorities, has yet to be updated but as a minimum should all parties should adhere to stay safe and prevent the risk of spread guidance. 

Steps should be taken to ensure any properties are prepared ready for new tenants’, this may include cleaning to minimize any potential spread of the virus in line with government advice and management of legionella risks. Ask your landlord or agent what steps they have taken to minimise the risk of coronavirus. Standard documentation and processing for sign up and pre-tenancy should be done remotely/electronically wherever possible. 

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What can I do with my waste/recycling when I move out?

After a hiatus in 2020, the NUSU Leave Newcastle Happy campaign is running currently.  In partnership with the British Heart Foundation some donation banks are available.  Other local charity collection points and bins may be open but these are limited. Newcastle City Council has 3 Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC) - be sure to follow a number of specific coronavirus measures in place to ensure social distancing, reduce the spread of Covid-19, and keep both staff and visitors safe.

ID is required?– Visitors will have to show both a passport or other photo ID (student ID would suffice) and a recent council tax or utility bill to be allowed in. A photocard driving license with the address on is acceptable on its own. If you do not live in Newcastle then you will be turned away. 

Any resident showing symptoms should not attempt to access an HWRC and follow Government guidelines oneself isolation. If you have rubbish from a household where someone is suspected of having had COVID19, please double bag potentially affected items, such as cloths, tissues, and masks, and leave for 72 hours before disposal in your green general waste bin or at an HWRC.

If people don’t have access to transport to get to waste/recycling centres but have excess waste that won’t fit or is unsuitable for the domestic bins, you can arrange for bulky waste collection at a charge. Find out more Newcastle council Bulky Waste Collections page.

Please do not fly-tip/abandon items in streets or back lanes as you could be fined.

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I can’t afford to pay my rent/living costs as my income has changed. What shall I do?

We are aware that many students have lost their part time jobs or other sources of income as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Technically you have signed a contract and unless you have been allowed to surrender this you are required to make all payments as usual. Firstly, contact your landlord, agent or provider to see what they suggest – they may reduce the payments and/or allow you to pay over a longer period. They might even consider reducing the tenancy term if they won’t release you. If you are experiencing financial difficulties, including living costs as a result of the current disruption, you may be eligible for support from the University’s Student Financial Support, often referred to as the Hardship Fund. Universities have been a higher allocation this year to deal with hardship related to Covid. The team are receiving a high number of applications but they aim to respond within 10 working days. If you don’t pay you housing provider  may decide to pursue a legal route, so it is always best to negotiate.

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I have viewed a house and paid a holding deposit but have not signed a Tenancy Agreement, can I back out now?

Possibly but probably not! It will depend on exactly what has been agreed/signed. If you are a prospective tenant and have viewed a house and paid a holding deposit but are yet to sign a tenancy agreement, you have effectively entered into a verbal commitment for the tenancy. Some may hold you to the tenancy until it is re-let, some will re-let the property and simply retain the holding deposit. Check your paperwork and speak to the landlord/agent to see what the position is. Either way please get what has been agreed in writing. You can still negotiate with your landlord to see if they will re-let the property but they do not have to. Also if they are not able to find a replacement tenant they may hold you to the contract.

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Can my security deposit just be released to pay my rent?

No the deposit cannot be released until the tenancy ends, so unless your landlord is agreeing to a mutual surrender of the tenancy then the deposit must remain protected by the scheme and cannot be used as part payment or rent or to offset against rent arrears.

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Is there any specific support for International Students?

Yes, the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) has provided a lot of information and support.  Newcastle University also has up-to-date information on how they can specifically support International Students. If you have a specific housing question, please contact the Student Advice Centre but please note we cannot advise on anything related to Immigration.

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Finance FAQS

My family income has changed, can I change my student finance application?

Once during a course lifetime, you can apply for a Change of Circumstances in your student finance. If your parents or your income has been reduced by at least 15% then you can request a reassessment of your funding from your funding source i.e SFE, SF Wales, SF Ni, or SAAS.

  • So if your household income changes - your parents or partner must:
  • correct any mistakes relating to their household income;
  • tell your funding source (e.g. SFE) if they think their household income will be at least 15% lower than the tax year they submitted details for;
  • this can be done on the Student Loan portal

Students can also apply to the university hardship fund* (the Student Financial Support Fund) whilst your change of circumstance is being processed. When applying you should state that is what you are doing. *you can only apply once you are a registered student*

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I have finished my studies and have graduated – do I still have an exemption from paying council tax?

No – once you are no longer a student you become a member of the public for council tax purposes and therefore are liable to pay.  This is because once you're no longer studying Full Time you are considered to have the time to get paid work, and have the option of claiming benefits, therefore you are expected to have an income that can pay for council tax.

Categories of people liable include:

  • Part-time students
  • Students between courses i.e. undergrad to postgrad
  • Postgraduate Students in the writing up period
  • Recent graduate

To be exempt you MUST:

  • Be a full time student
  • Be on course for more than 21 hours per week for more than 24 weeks in an academic year
  • Be in Higher Education

You may be able to apply for a council tax reduction if you are on a low income – this discount differs from location to location and you apply via the local council in your area.

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What if I need help with my finances?

Make an application to the Student Finance Support Fund (Hardship).  Here is the application form.  This fund is for students in hardship i.e struggling to pay bills or pay for essentials like food, and can only be accessed once you have registered in September.  This fund is managed by the University not the Students’ Union or the SAC

You can alternatively make an appointment for budgeting advice, debt advice, or benefits advice via the online booking form https://form.jotform.com/201984142287055.

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Do I still have to pay my bills if I am not living in my student accommodation?

Yes, the bills still have to be paid such as gas, electricity, water etc as these all have a standing charge for the service provision. However, these may be lower due to smaller usage. within the property.

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What happens to my Student Loans if I am from the EU now the UK is no longer in the EU?

Up until August 2021, an EU student loan status stays the same and will continue to stay the same as long as no changes occur like a suspension or deferral, or course change, until the end of the course duration.

However, after this deadline, any new EU student will be classed as an overseas student, and will not be eligible to apply for student loans

If you are a current student who has a change in the year up to and including after August 2021 you will also lose your right to EU funding.

If you need guidance on EU status with regards to Brexit changes please contact https://www.ncl.ac.uk/international/visa/  as the SAC cannot give Immigration advice

(the guidance changes frequently as the legislation updates – this is current as of April  2021).

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I am a Migrant Worker student, can this continue after Aug 2021?

 Yes if you still fulfill the criteria and you will be subject to continuous checks from SLC for the remainder of your course. However any new students will be unable to apply as this scheme is being abolished from August 31st, 2021.

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Can I claim benefits as a student?

Unfortunately, most students (lone parents/disabled students have different rules) are excluded from claiming benefits. This means that, even if you have lost your job you cannot claim Universal Credit (UC).

Similarly, Legacy Benefits (such as Housing Benefit) cannot be claimed by most students and they cannot accept new claims anyway.

Student Lone Parents: are able to claim UC (including an amount to help with Rent).

Student Couples (Both Students): You will only be able to claim UC if you have care of a Child.

Disabled students: a disabled person who has PIP (personal independence payment) can only be eligible for UC if they have limited capability for work BEFORE they start their degree course.

Your student income can affect how much UC you receive. Student income includes:

  • student maintenance loans
  • student grants
  • scholarships from a college or university for anything that is not travel costs, books, equipment or childcare
  • bursaries, like a teacher training bursary

If you wish to discuss benefit issues please fill in the booking form to make an appointment with the finance adviser.

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Academic FAQS

I have tested positive for Covid 19 and need to self isolate meaning I will not be able to attend my in-person exam. What should I do?

You should inform your school by completing a PEC form and request a deferral of the exam you cannot attend  (PEC via S3P).

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What does ‘The Introduction of a revised policy for the late submission of assessed work’ mean?

From the start of Semester 2, penalties for the late submission of work will operate on a sliding scale, with students losing a set number of marks for each day after the deadline for an assessment is submitted. The sliding scale for late submission works on the following basis:

  • A fixed penalty of a 5% deduction of the final agreed mark, for every calendar day that the work is submitted late.
  • Deductions will accrue daily for either a 7 day period, or until the mark reaches the pass mark (40 for undergraduate modules, 50 for integrated masters and PGT modules, and the relevant pass grade for non-modular programmes).
  • Work submitted after 7 calendar days should be given a mark of zero.
  • 1 day is considered 24 hours after the orginal deadline, for example, if the assessment deadline has been set for 12 noon on Tuesday 23/2/21 a piece of work submitted at 11:59:59 am on Wednesday 24/2/2021 will be deemed to be one day late; a piece of work submitted at 12:00:00 pm on Wednesday 24/2/21 should be deemed to be two days late. This principle will be carried into future years too, although some adjustments might be made after Semester 2 if necessary.

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I am a PGT student, what are my resit entitlements?

The university is has adjusted its regulations for 2020/21 for PGT students to be permitted a single resit attempt for all their taught modules and to allow them to progress to the dissertation/final project carrying fails from the taught modules.

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Will Newcastle University be offering rapid testing on Campus?

Although there is no longer a rapid test-site, you can collect a pack of 7 LFT tests from NUSU reception.

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What should I do if I test positive after taking a rapid test?

If you test positive after taking a rapid test, you’ll be asked by the NHS to undergo a PCR test (the regular NHS Covid-19 test) to verify that you have contracted the virus.

You should let the university know as soon as possible if you are having to self-isolate by completing this  online form.

If you have an urgent need that cannot wait until the next working day (Monday-Friday) – call the university between 10am and 4pm (Monday - Friday) call the COVID Enquiry Line on 0191 222 5101. Outside of these hours call Security on 0191 208 6817 (available 24/7).

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Will I get a refund on tuition fees for any reduced teaching time due to the pandemic?

Teaching is being provided either online or in person, the university has made no plans to refund tuition fees.

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How can I access my university files remotely?

The university has launched an online service which gives access to popular cluster PC software and your University files. The student Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) has most of the software that is available on a standard University cluster PC.  You can log in to it from a PC, laptop or tablet that is connected to the internet via https://go.ncl.ac.uk/itservice/wvd.

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I am having trouble contacting my Supervisor, who can I contact?

Please contact your Graduate School Office:

HaSS and SAgE students: gradschool@ncl.ac.uk

FMS students: medpg-enquiries@ncl.ac.uk

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Personal FAQS

I am recently bereaved, or I know someone who is, where can I get support?

There are many organizations and services that are there to support you or someone you care about at this very difficult time. Our personal webpages have a section on bereavement where we list some of these along with links to support within the University.

Newcastle University Grief and Bereavement Guide - This guide is intended to provide some support to help you negotiate the next steps in your bereavement.

You can also check out the bereavement resources the Student Advice Centre has put together here.

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I’m personally finding all this very difficult to deal with, can anyone help?

There is a lot of support out there to help you.  

  • Suicide Prevention
  • Student Minds 
  • Mind
  • Newcastle University Wellbeing and online CBT with Silvercloud
  • Every Mind Matters NHS
  • Streetwise 
  • HealthWorks resources: HealthWorks have developed a list of online resources to help families keep active, healthy, and happy. More information is available here.  
  • Citylife Line: Citylife Line is a new service that has been launched by Newcastle City Council, in partnership with the community and voluntary sector, for residents wanting to volunteer their time whilst also providing a service to support residents in need. To register to offer support or to request support, visit the Newcastle City Council website or phone 0191 277 8000.
  • Health & Well-being: Newcastle City Council has a website page with advice on how to look after yourself and your family during this time, particularly when staying at home, given that some people understandably find social distancing or self-isolation very difficult. At this time more than ever, emotional and mental well-being should be considered. The Coronavirus: Looking after yourself website page includes some helpful information and advice on how to do this, much of this from the Mental Health Foundation website.

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I need to talk to someone anonymously. Is this possible?

Nightline is running its online chat service, so if you're wanting to chat with someone anonumously and confidentailly click here.  Their service runs from 6pm to midnight during term time.

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I feel like I need tailored support due to my identity, where can I go?

Not all students have been impacted equally by the pandemic. As part of the Student Space programme, Student Minds are launching a new range of innovative, tailored services for students. This includes support for:

  • Black students, Punjabi students and other racialised and minoritised communities
  • Trans and gender questioning students
  • Students from working class backgrounds 
  • Students who have OCD or BDD (body dysmorphic disorder)
  • Students who hear voices 
  • Students with disordered eating

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I'm experiencing domestic abuse, what help is available for me?

Please take a look here at a full list of domestic abuse information. 

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I have recently lost someone due to alcohol/drug misuse, where can I get support?

If you, or someone you know, has recently experienced a loss due to alcohol or drug misuse, there are various support services available to you.  

 DrugFam is a drug and alcohol addiction support website, which primarily provides a lifeline to families, friends and partners affected by someone else’s addiction to drugs and/or alcohol, and in particular, those who have experienced bereavement as a result of substance misuse. 

 The University's Student Health and Wellbeing Service are available for support if you need it. They also have a new mental health support network  TalkCampus where you can talk to other students from around the world 24/7 about how you are feeling, and to know that, however you may be feeling, you are not alone. You can also email support services at the University using the emails below:

Student Support from pastoral.support@ncl.ac.uk   

Additional support for students also continues to be provided by the Student Counselling Team sws.therapyappointments@ncl.ac.uk.

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I am worried about a friend who has taken drugs, where can I get help?

Drugs can be a difficult topic to discuss, especially if you believe someone you know has a problem.  FRANK  has great tips on how to approach your friend/family member with your concerns, and also advice on what to do in an emergency if someone is having a bad reaction as a result of taking drugs.  

The University's  Student Health and Wellbeing Service iare also available to offer advice if you are concerned about a student, but please be aware that they are not an emergency service. If you are with someone who needs medical help as a result of taking drugs, call an ambulance immediately. They won't tell the police, and it could save their life. 

You can also email support services at the University if you feel you need support as a result of someone else’s drug/alcohol misuse using the emails below:

Student Support from pastoral.support@ncl.ac.uk.

Additional support for students also continues to be provided by the Student Counselling Team sws.therapyappointments@ncl.ac.uk   

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Immigration FAQS

The Student Advice Centre cannot advise on any Immigration related queries.  In the first instance, Newcastle University Visa team web pages have a lot of information that is regularly updated including their contact details.

The UK Government has also provided guidance for anyone applying for a UK Visa.

The Home Office’s Coronavirus Immigration Helpline remains open: 0800 678 1767 (open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm – calls are free of charge if made from within the UK).  The Home Office asks that customers check gov.uk first as that is the central source of information, but if individuals remain concerned about their immigration status they can contact: CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk

If you've read through our FAQs and your question has not been answered, please use our booking form.

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