Please note that we’re not able to help you with queries about your course, accommodation, or immigration status. Contact your university or college as a first step.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is causing major disruption and concern across the globe. We know this is an extremely worrying time for you.
The Office for Students (OfS) is working with the Department for Education and with universities and colleges to ensure you have the information and guidance you need. As you know, this is a fast-developing situation. Our aim is to keep you, and the universities and colleges we regulate, as up to date as possible.
This note focuses on information about higher education. For other information about coronavirus, for example about the precautions you should be taking, and what to do if you think you may have coronavirus, please read the guidance from Public Health England and guidance from the government.
Where to find information
Your university or college is the best place to go for information about your course, accommodation and access to facilities. We encourage you to make use of their support services at this time. Your students’ union, guild or association (if your university has one) would also be a good place to seek advice and support.
Some other useful sources:
What the OfS is doing
The OfS is working closely with the Department for Education and with universities and colleges to support and protect the interests of students. Universities and colleges are under immense pressure. But they still have a duty of care to all their students, and a responsibility to continue teaching and learning activities where possible. For many, this has meant moving teaching online. Others have decided to close before the end of term.
We’re not able to tell your university or college what it should do – and in any case, we think universities and colleges are best placed to make decisions which take into account their particular situation and the needs of their students. But we are working with them in a number of ways to help them to help you:
- We have published a series of briefing notes looking at how higher education providers are responding to the coronavirus pandemic.
- We have written to all universities and colleges on our register to let them know about our approach to regulating them during this time.
- We have introduced a new time-limited condition of registration (Z3) that allows us to take action against universities and colleges that engage in conduct which would not be in the interests of students and the wider higher education sector in these exceptional circumstances.
- We have published new guidance for universities and colleges on how we will regulate academic quality and standards during the pandemic. This is supplemented by guidance on student and consumer protection during the pandemic. Find out more about what you can expect from your university or college in terms of teaching, learning and assessment with our frequently asked questions.
- Some groups of students may need more support, or may have additional concerns about the impact of the pandemic on their studies or personal lives – for example, disabled students; those who have experience of being in care, or are estranged from their families; refugees; people with caring responsibilities; and those from lower income households. We have made clear throughout our guidance to universities and colleges and accompanying FAQs that they should have particular regard to the needs of students that may be particularly vulnerable as a result of the disruption caused by the pandemic. We have also published a number of briefing notes relating to particular groups of students.
- We will keep the OfS website and social media accounts up to date with the latest information. We encourage you to follow us on social media:
If you have significant concerns about the way your university or college is responding to the coronavirus situation, you can let us know by emailing our notifications inbox: [email protected].
Our key priority at this time is to make sure the interests of students are protected, and we are working hard to do this. We will share more advice and information as the situation develops in the coming weeks.