Bedfordshire University launches COVID-19 hardship fund

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University of Bedfordshire COVID-19 lateral flow testing site
University of Bedfordshire's COVID-19 lateral flow testing site.

Students at Bedfordshire University are now able to access a COVID-19 (coronavirus) hardship fund if they are struggling due to the ongoing lockdown.

The fund is open to all students who may be struggling to stay within higher education without additional financial support, and they won’t need to repay anything they receive.

It will cover unexpected costs that cannot be met during the pandemic, such as childcare, travel, rent and course-related costs.

“We encourage all current students who may benefit from this discretionary funding to apply as soon as possible,” said Professor Rebecca Bunting, vice-chancellor.

“We’re aware that a number of our students are struggling and hope this funding will help alleviate some of the financial pressures our students are experiencing at the moment.”

This latest lockdown has disrupted teaching for many students, with only those on critical worker courses able to attend on-campus practical sessions and assessments.

All other students are required to work remotely from home via online lectures.

While students with limited access to technology can make use of the University’s Laptop Loan Scheme, there are other factors the hardship fund may help with.

“Many rely on part-time work to supplement or fund their studies and living costs, which the pandemic has now disrupted – either through redundancies or because they have to self-isolate,” added Professor Bunting.

“Others have increased living expenses due to studying remotely, including utility bills and childcare costs following school closures.

“We do hope our students will take advantage of this fund and apply as soon as possible.”

Applications for the Government backed fund can be made online at beds.ac.uk. All applications must be received by Monday 8 March 2021 at 5 pm.

Meanwhile, two Lateral Flow Testing centres have reopened at the University of Bedfordshire’s Bedford and Luton campuses.

Students who are allowed to attend face-to-face teaching must test negative to a COVID-19 test before accessing campus facilities and in-person classes.

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