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It’s hard to believe that it was nearly a year ago when I wrote How COVID-19 will affect my student finance and since then we know that concerns are far greater than just student finance. We also know that lots of help is available from the government and from Leeds Trinity University, which many of our students have already successfully accessed.

University Hardship Fund

The main University Hardship Fund is open throughout term-time, and any Leeds Trinity student who is struggling financially can make their case for financial assistance. Awards vary based on individual circumstances. This week, in line with National Student Money Week, we are launching the digital Hardship Fund Application system, to help improve the accessibility of this fund. Keep an eye out for the ‘Hardship Funds’ button on the main page of your e:Vision account. You can also find more information about the University Hardship Fund on myLTU.

Covid Hardship Fund

This separate hardship fund is dedicated to students in financially vulnerable groups and groups directly financially affected by the pandemic. The Covid Hardship Fund makes awards of up to £1,000 per student. Following the initial amount funded by the government, the Leeds Trinity Executive team agreed to match this figure in order to financially support to more students. The government has since announced a further investment, which is already helping students. Email Student Finance for more information.

IT Desktop Loans

Students struggling to access their online learning due to not having adequate IT facilities may wish to apply for a desktop loan. IT Services can provide DELL Optiplex devices with a flat-screen monitor, mouse, keyboard, USB WiFi adapter and USB Webcam. The devices come pre-installed with all the software you need to support your studies at Leeds Trinity, including: Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, Teams, OneNote, Panopto and Edge/Chrome web browsers. For further information, contact Student Finance.

Government financial support

We know many of you have been put onto the furlough scheme by your employers during the third lockdown. Furlough pays 80% of a person’s wages in most cases and is running until the end of April 2021. You can also work part-time for your employer while on the furlough scheme. Find out more on Money Saving Expert. There is also support available for people who are self-employed including the self-employment income support scheme extension. Find out more on Money Advice Service.

People struggling to keep up with payments on their mortgage, credit cards, loans or car finance can apply for a payment holiday or speak to their creditor about what other support is on offer. Help is also available for energy bills and insurance policies. Find out more on Money Saving Expert.

Rent

Students who live in halls of residence on the Leeds Trinity University campus and are unable to move back into their accommodation for the new (third) lockdown period due to government restrictions will receive a 100% rent credit for this period.

Students who live in privately-owned halls of residence such as UNITE, please check with your accommodation provider as some are issuing rent refunds. If you are renting a privately-owned student property, there is no legal obligation for the landlord not to charge you rent or reduce your rent if you are not living there. Landlords can apply for a mortgage payment holiday, which can help to alleviate financial pressures if you are renting. However, landlords may not wish to do this, and if they do, they are not obliged to pass that payment holiday onto you.

If you are struggling to pay your rent, or want to know if you can get a reduction in your rent due to not currently living in the property, speak to your landlord or letting agent in the first instance,  to see if any reductions or payment deferrals can be arranged. Leeds Trinity Students’ Union also provides advice on rent and student housing matters and don’t forget if you are struggling financially you can apply for financial assistance via the Hardship Fund.  

Scams

COVID-19 has been a breeding ground for scams and fraudulent online activity. For the latest information on the newest scams and how to avoid them, follow Action Fraud on social media.

If you receive an unexpected or suspicious text message, call or email, remember to:

  • Never click a link
  • Never give out any details over the phone
  • Always check the official number/email of the company involved

What else can I do to help my financial situation?

We probably all wish we had time and foresight to have planned for the pandemic, but now you can make financial plans for the unexpected with the help of the new National Student Money Week ebook, a three-day email bootcamp to get your finances in order and two financial planning webinars. You can sign up for all of these materials for free on the National Student Money Week website.  

For updates, advice on applying for Student Finance and other money tips, you can find Money Advice on myLTU.

 

Emma Quirke is a Student Adviser at Leeds Trinity. If you would like to discuss anything or need support with your financial wellbeing please email Student Finance. This information was up to date at the time of writing. 

 

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