Leicester students to receive accommodation rebate

Students living in University of Leicester-provided halls of residence will receive a rebate on their accommodation, due to the impact of national lockdown measures.

The decision was taken in light of new Government lockdown guidance – which advises students not to travel back to Leicester from their ‘vacation address’ – and in consultation with student representatives.

The total amount repaid to students will be calculated in March, and will be available to all students in University-owned accommodation studying non-exempted courses and who have not made any use of their accommodation since the commencement of the national lockdown.

In addition, the University will also lobby Universities UK (UUK) and the Government to ensure that there is a fair outcome for all students and universities that have been financially impacted by the recent lockdown, including those living in private accommodation and in other circumstances.

University of Leicester Vice-Chancellor, Professor Nishan Canagarajah, said:

“This has been one of the most difficult years for students on record, and we understand the disruption the latest national lockdown has caused for students and their accommodation arrangements.

“We have committed to ensuring our current and prospective students are treated with fairness, which is why we have agreed to offer students a rebate on their University accommodation costs.

“As the first UK University to offer a range of flexible accommodation contracts at the start of the academic year, we recognise the current anxiety and distress this issue is causing some of our students, and their wellbeing must come first.”

Professor Canagarajah added:

“It is important that our response is consistent with Government advice, and is fair to all our students, who live in very different accommodation settings with varying contractual agreements.”

Rebates will be processed in the April rent payment instalment, once the full impact of the current national lockdown is assessed.

Returns for memberships of the University’s gym facilities will also be arranged, with fees refunded proportionate to the length of the closure period.

Additional support continues to be made available to students via the student hardship fund, which has provided £160,000 in student support this academic year.

The University is also exploring every avenue available regarding an Educational Safeguard to help support the progression and outcomes of all University of Leicester students. This include the option to defer assessments, uncapping of re-assessments and increasing the scope of ‘mitigating circumstances’.

The University is currently working on the issue of tuition fee refunds. Government advice to date has been that universities should continue to charge the normal fee levels while continuing to provide an education leading to degree level outcomes that support future employment opportunities.