What is the Coronavirus Impact Fund and how is it supporting students? 

Andy Stafford, one of the Student Funding Advisors, explains what funds are available to help you if you’ve been financially affected by the pandemic, and how you can apply. 

Andy Stafford

Our team helpstudents get their funding sorted out, whether that’s help with budgeting, access to the Coronavirus Impact Fund, or offering financial advice via bookable 15-minutes video calls. 

We launched the fund when we first went into lockdown in 2020 to help students who were financially affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Who can apply?

  • It’s open to all students! Undergraduate, postgraduate, part-time, full-time, international or home, it doesn’t matter.  
  • You can also apply if you’re studying with us from outside the UK e.g. from your home country.  
  • You must have been financially affected by the pandemic. This could include being furloughed or losing your job, being unable to find a new job, or losing family support due to their finances being affected by Coronavirus. It also includes specific IT or travel costs you’ve had to pay because of the pandemic. 

What sort of thing can the fund help with?

  • Essential living costs: food, bills, rent, or priority debts. 
  • Technology to help you learn online: things like a laptop, better broadband, a printer or ink cartridges. 
  • Unexpected travel you’ve had to undertake e.g., to return home. 
  • Charges your landlord isn’t willing to waive e.g. if you had to leave your accommodation suddenly.  

What do you need to apply to the fund?

  • A bank statement with your balance showing for the month you apply in. 
  • Evidence of any other income you have coming in. 
  • How much you spend each month on rent. 

How much could I get?

  • The amount of the award varies depending on your circumstances and need, it could be as little as £70 or up to maximum of £4,000. 
  • We may not be able to cover the whole amount of the support you need, but we can help with a contribution towards those costs. 
  • You can apply to the fund more than once in an academic year. 

How do I apply?

  • Email student-funding@bristol.ac.uk briefly explaining why you want to apply. 
  • Andrew and his team can advise you on the funds you may be able to access. 
  • When an application is submitted, they will look at your income and expenses from when you apply to the fund until 18th June to calculate if you are eligible for an award. 
  • If you’re applying for technology to help with online learning, let us know what IT you have at the moment, why it’s not fit for purpose, and submit evidence of the cost of the new equipment e.g. a photo of a product on the Argos website, or a receipt for some equipment you’ve already bought. Equipment must have been purchased within a month of applying to the fund. 
  • The closing date for all applications is 7 June 2021 and applications will be assessed up to the 18  June 2021. 

Help the university make real change

Flo Ingram, chair of the Education Network, writes about the importance of using your student voice.

What works and what doesn’t?

Making degrees better would be far more difficult without feedback from other students. Without feedback, there is little way to inform the staff who build your programmes, individual units and assessments what works well and what just doesn’t. This is why the National Student Survey (NSS) is so important.

Tell us about your experience

As you complete your degree and regardless of whether you begin your career or continue your education further, the NSS gives you one last opportunity to give feedback about your experience on your course. By providing feedback about the good and the bad that you have experienced throughout your time at Bristol, you provide invaluable information from which real changes can be made. This is especially important with the introduction of the blended learning environment: what aspects of this learning will stick around? What will the future of higher education look like? Your feedback will help to determine the answers in this crucial year.

You can drive real change

Lecture Re/Play, an increase in the library hours cap and assessment mitigations this year are just some of the changes which have been driven by the hard work of student reps as a result of student feedback. Of course, the National Student Survey is one of many ways to provide this feedback; there are countless other ways throughout the duration of your degree. Course reps regularly feedback the information gathered from cohorts about your units, which is more important than ever with reduced lecturer interaction from the pandemic. Education Network Forums and Surveys are also great ways to discuss your experiences in a safe environment, at a faculty or university wide level.

Take the NSS – it only takes 15 minutes

Your feedback through the NSS will ensure that Bristol maintains its reputation for providing an excellent education going forward, so you can continue to have pride in your University of Bristol degree throughout your life.

Take the survey now.

Students supporting students

Third year English student Alice Baxter describes the new group she helped set up to support self-isolating students.

The Student to Student Covid Relief Scheme has been set up to help isolating and vulnerable students. The University are of course providing basic food boxes, but some of us need a little more. Students can request items discreetly and we will organize for one of our volunteers to transport them to the isolating flat.

Student to Student Bristol Covid Relief Scheme banner

We welcome requests for medications or food items relating to medical and ethical requirements, foods that ease an eating disorder, pregnancy tests… anything really (as long as it is not a controlled or illegal substance) that people who are isolating require. If you require any non-food related items during isolation, such as board games or art supplies, we are here to help.

Our volunteers understand it is a very anxious time, so please let us know if there’s anything we can provide which will help put yourselves at ease in your isolation period. We are not affiliated with the University or the SU, so all of our requests are “off the record,” and we will keep it between us. Our volunteers are friendly, fast and supportive, and we take all necessary precautions of social distancing and PPE.

Alongside welcoming requests, we are also taking volunteer applications, and you can find the form on our Facebook group.

If you’re self-isolating, there’s lots more information on the University website about how to stay safe and protect others, and how to access other support.

What to pack for University 

You’ve got six sets of Wilkinson’s basics coasters…but no shower gel. A suitcase of fancy dress options and only one extension cord. Moving into halls is an exciting time, so if you’re starting to think about what you need to bring to University, don’t worry about forgetting something important – we’ve got you covered. 

student's feet below the word 'hello'

Here’s our list of things to pack: 

The essentials 

  • Registration guide and Welcome Week timetable so you know where you’re going 
  • Keep cup – you can get a discount at each of our Source cafés every time you use a reusable mug 
  • Water bottle – keep hydrated in style and help save the planet by saying no to single-use plastics 
  • Towel 
  • Clothes 
  • Bedding – you’d be surprised how many people forget a duvet cover or pillow case! 
  • Toiletries  
  • Kitchen equipment – if you’re in self-catered accommodation you should bring a plate, bowl, cutlery, and pots and pans. It can be worth waiting until you arrive to see what your housemates have brought before buying smaller items like vegetable peelers or cheese graters; that way you’ll end up only with what you need. 

 flat-lay of items to pack

Getting around 

Ready to study 

  • Notepad 
  • Pencil case – you can pick up loads of cool freebies, including stationery, at the Welcome Fair 
  • Laptop 
  • Headphones – because you don’t want to be that person blasting music on the bus 
  • Textbooks – our libraries are also a great resource and staff are happy to help you find what you need 

Your new community 

  • Biscuits are a great way to break the ice when you first move in 
  • Playing cards or board games 
  • Fancy dress 
  • SU wristband for entry into a host of events to help you get to know your neighbours and make friends 

student carrying a box into halls

A home away from home 

  • Photos of family and friends 
  • Clock – because you don’t want to miss that 9 am lecture! 
  • A cozy hoodie 
  • Calendar 
  • Lamp 

Need something else? 

There are plenty of shops nearby where you can pick up anything else that you need – including The Basket, found on the ground floor of the Students’ Union. You can also order moving-in packs for the kitchen, bathroom, or cleaning supplies. 

Why not get a plant or poster to brighten up your room and make it your own? Share a photo of your space with us using #FindYourBristol and let us know the one thing that you’re not leaving home without.