The University of Worcester has called on the Government to give students a fee credit and pandemic hardship grant to help them 'navigate the turbulent start to the year and the latest lockdown.'

Professor David Green CBE, Worcester’s Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive said: “It is only fair and right that students borrowing from Student Finance England should receive a fee credit of £4,675 for the 20-21 Academic Year. Simultaneously, ‘Home’ Fee students at English Universities, should receive a non-means tested ‘pandemic hardship grant’ of £500 for each month in which the current ‘lockdown’ announced on January 5 continues.”

Professor Green predicts that the current lockdown will last until Easter for university classes.

“Missing a whole term of in person teaching, despite all the marvellous efforts by University staff to provide the very best online alternative, means that students deserve a fee credit.

“It is time for the Government to stand up and help our young people and our universities, as we have been so dutifully helping the nation in every way that we can. After the £22 billion spent on Test and Trace, the PPE procurement scandals and the legion of other problems, spending a fraction of the people’s money on our young people - so many of whom have behaved in such an exemplary way, sometimes at the cost of their own mental health - will be surely be popular.”

Worcester student Jay Hickling said: "The student body is currently extremely angry and feel as though they have been forgotten and taken advantage of throughout this pandemic. The university could win back the trust and respect of students, is to offer a partial refund for their tuition fees. Currently we are paying £9,250, and there is a general consensus that we should be paying around £3,000 for the quality we are getting."

A spokesman for the University of Worcester said: "Around half of the University of Worcester’s students are back on campus as they are classified by the Government as ‘future critical workers’, including those studying Nursing, Midwifery, teacher training and social work. But even for these students, teaching is only in-person if there is no alternative whatsoever.

"The University also remains open to support students who find it difficult to study at home due to cramped conditions, poor broadband, family difficulties or any other legitimate reason.

"The University is supporting students who continue living in halls of residence, which currently includes over 30%.

"In anticipating the current situation, the University changed the terms and conditions of accommodation contracts for 2020-21 to give students the right to cancel their contract if teaching went online for more than a short period of time.

"This change gives students the choice to take the decision based on their own individual circumstances, which are very varied.

"This policy was adopted after the experience of the first national lockdown when those Worcester students who left their university-owned accommodation were not charged from the point where teaching went on-line, at an overall cost to the University of £2m, not a penny of which was refunded by the Government."