Accommodation Fee Rebates

Last updated: 02 March 2021

Claiming a rebate and T&Cs

Who is eligible to claim a rebate?

You are eligible for a rebate if:

  • You are staying in university owned or a nominated partner accommodation
  • You have not resided in your accommodation since 11 January
  • You have not been asked by your school to return to campus
  • You have not been approved for Early Release from your accommodation contract
  • You submitted an accommodation rebate form by 20 January  2021

When is the rebate for?

This depends on whether you have been requested to be back on campus by your school. If you have then been requested to come back on campus, your rebate period will be from 11 January to 07 March 2021 (inclusive).

If you have not been requested to come back on campus by your school, the full rebate period is 11 January 2021 to 11 April 2021 (inclusive).If you have already returned to campus, you will be charged from the day of arrival.

I want to return to my accommodation. Will I still get a rebate?

If you have not been requested to come back on campus by your school, travel to university is still not permitted during the period, except in the circumstances we set out in our briefing to students on 5 January.

If you do return on these grounds during the period, you will be charged from the day of arrival. You will still receive a rebate up until your day of return to campus.

I was asked to come back to campus for my course. Can I also get a rebate?

As highlighted in our email dated 2 March, due to the fact that you are now permitted to return to campus, your rebate period will end on 7 March (inclusive). You will be contacted individually after 15 March with information about your rebate amount and your remaining balance.    If for any reason you are not able to come back, (eg: if you are shielding or currently living overseas), please email us and we will review each case individually.  We cannot guarantee that you will be allowed to have your rebate period continued but we promise that each situation will be carefully considered on a case by case basis.

If you have any queries about your return to campus for your specific course, please contact your School Office in the first instance. Living will be able to assist with queries about your accommodation fee rebate. 

Can I collect my belongings?

No. The latest government guidance states students should avoid returning to university to collect any of their belongings which they may have left at their university accommodation over the winter break. However, you can travel back to collect any medical equipment or items required for online learning if it is essential.

I am staying in my accommodation. What do I do?

There are still a large number of students that are living in University and Partner accommodation. These students we will continue to receive our services. Our teams have been working very hard to ensure we continue to operate 24/7 and a number of our catering outlets across campus will continue to operate a take away service.  If you are staying with us, we will be offering a free takeaway lunch in our accommodation every Wednesday (detail to follow on a separate email), as well as the continued provision of self-isolation support, ensuring that if you do have to self-isolate, you have access to grocery boxes, regular wellbeing check-ins and essential supplies.

Remember, you are not alone and we are always available for a chat. For more information please visit the student intranet or the student mentor page.

What happens if lockdown is extended?

The rebate period has been aligned with the current government guidance in relation to travel restrictions and national lockdown. This remains a fast moving situation and as such when government guidance is updated, and in advance of 11 April, the position will be reviewed and shared with you.

I have stayed in my accommodation over the winter break can I leave my accommodation now?

You should remain at your current university accommodation as per the latest government guidance.

What if I change my mind?

If for any reason your situation has changed and you need to return to your accommodation please tell us by emailing living on Living@contacts.bham.ac.uk

Wellbeing and student support

What further support is available to students?

The University is also very aware that many students have suffered lost opportunities for part-time work, experienced changes in family circumstances or incurred a variety of additional costs as a result of the pandemic. In this academic year, the University will make available more than £10 million in student financial support – financial awards that directly benefit and are directly paid to students.

More than 4,500 individual students will benefit from the Chamberlain Award this year – sharing more than £8.5 million between them. These awards support some of our most financially disadvantaged students: from low-income households, under-represented groups and Care Leavers, with first instalments due to be paid by the end of January. 

The University has also increased the value of its existing Student Support Fund to £1 million – and this is open to applications from all students. The Student Support Fund is a hardship fund - meaning that it is intended to support students who are experiencing genuine financial difficulties. In direct response to the circumstances of the pandemic, the application criteria have been changed and any students who have previously applied to the fund this year (or who have applications in progress) will be re-assessed under the new criteria automatically. 

Do you offer wellbeing support?

Yes. Support for your wellbeing is always available and we are continuing to provide a range of resources and expert contacts that are accessible wherever you are.  Our Wellbeing Services are open from this week in your Schools and Colleges and from our Mental Health and Wellbeing Team.  Our support includes regular wellbeing check-ins and the provision of essential supplies to keep you going.  You can also access support to keep you active, connected and engaged via our webpages here. 

How do I get a test so I can return to Campus?

We are continuing to participate in the national programme to offer all students rapid, asymptomatic Covid tests to support your return to campus.  The latest UK Government guidance states that all students should book two rapid asymptomatic Covid tests (at least 3 days apart) and you should plan to do this before you begin to use any on-campus facilities.

In-between your 2 tests you should restrict your social contacts as much as possible and not attend any on campus activity.   You can book your test dates here.

The rapid, asymptomatic Covid tests are recommended by the UK Government, for use by universities, as a proactive way of detecting potentially infectious, but asymptomatic individuals. These Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests, are not as sensitive as the other commonly used PCR tests available for people with symptoms but they are now used across the UK – and taking two tests provides additional confidence in identifying those individuals who don’t have symptoms but have high levels of infection.

Alternatively, students returning to campus, or to your Birmingham-based accommodation, may choose to self-isolate for ten days before commencing any learning activities on campus – following the advice here.   

The only other exception, is if you have had a positive PCR test result within the last 90 days and have fully completed your period of self-isolation.

If community-based rapid testing is available where you live then you should consider taking an initial test before you travel. These will be operated locally and you can search online for:  “rapid covid testing near me

At any time, if you receive a positive test result you should self-isolate immediately and please let us know via this link.

At all times and in all settings we should all continue to follow the important Hands; Face; Space guidance and any local restrictions where you are living.

What do I do if I need to self-isolate?

For students in University of Birmingham accommodation:  If you need to self-isolate on your return then please let us know, by contacting Accommodation Services via the portal here, so that we can support you   Our support includes regular wellbeing check-ins and the provision of essential supplies to keep you going.  You can also access support to keep you active, connected and engaged via our webpages here. 

Travel

Am I allowed to come back to campus?

Yes, if you have been requested to come back to campus by your school. You would have been informed by your school by Wednesday 04 March at the latest. If you have any queries about whether you are requested back or not, please contact your school in the first instance.

Furthermore, the Government also has identified a small group of taught subject areas that can return to campus study and placement activity from 4 Jan and where in-person teaching can continue. If you are on one of these programmes your School will have confirmed this.

The Government has also identified where there may be exceptions to the delayed return advice, including:

  • Students without access to appropriate study spaces or facilities in their vacation accommodation. 
  • Students who have remained in their university accommodation over the vacation period.
  • Students who may require additional support – including for mental health and wellbeing.
  • Students on placements where these can continue, based on the local restrictions and where the placement provider has Covid-secure measures in place.
  • International Students who have remained in the UK or have already arrived in the UK.

If you do return on these grounds during the period, you will be expected to inform the Accommodation Office and will be charged from the day of arrival.

We would ask that you follow the most up-to-date Government guidance at all times. When you are permitted to return, consider carefully and plan your return to campus activities in line with this advice and the latest Government guidance on testing to return before accessing campus facilities as detailed at the end of this message.

I am an international student planned to arrive during lockdown.

If you are planning to travel to the UK you should consider delaying your arrival if your travel plans can be rearranged without additional costs.

If you are arriving/returning to the UK please follow the most up-to-date advice available for international travellers which is available here.  The University is supporting all international students (including EU citizens) with the additional costs of the Test to Release scheme – further information available here.  We have also asked that all international students update their study location plans for semester 2 – which you can do here.

My flights have been cancelled but I still want to come onto campus. What should I do?

If you are planning to travel to the UK you should consider delaying your arrival if your travel plans can be rearranged without additional costs. If you are arriving/returning to the UK please follow the most up-to-date advice available for international travellers which is available here. The University is supporting all international students (including EU citizens) with the additional costs of the Test to Release scheme – further information available here. We have also asked that all international students update their study location plans for semester 2 – which you can do here.

Meal Plan

What about my Meal Plan?

The Meal Plan is spread over 32 weeks and top-ups stop over the Christmas period on the 20 December and would normally start again on the 11 January. The rebate will also include any scheduled Meal Plan instalments from the 11 January until 11 April.

Provided that you have applied for a rebate before 20 January, you do not need to take any further action. We will send further communications to you after 8 March.

Where can I use my meal plan?

For an updated list of catering outlets and their opening times please visit the catering website.

The Meal Plan can now also be used to purchase toiletries from The Melt, in addition to a ‘click and collect’ service from Costcutter whereby you can purchase non-food items* which could previously only be purchased via cash or debit card.

*alcohol is not included

What will happen to my current meal plan balance?

If you have applied for the rebate and have a Meal Plan booking, your balance will not continue to be topped up with £54 per week during the rebate period.

We recognise that this year was challenging for students and so have decided that any current Meal Plan balance can be used until December 2021.

Finance

When will I get the rebate?

If you have already returned to campus, we will be contacting you individually with information about your rebate amount as well as the balance left on your account and instructions on what actions you need to take.

If you have not returned to campus, we will apply the rebate once the rebate period has ended as this remains a fast moving situation and government guidance can be updated. 

Prior to 11 April, and if the guidance will not have changed, you will receive an update on how the rebate will be applied to your account. 

Can I stop payment my direct debit?

No. In order to be eligible for your accommodation fee rebate you must be up to date with your payments. 

Please continue with your payments as agreed with the University.

I am in arrears what can I do?

If you have any questions about your payments please contact Accounts Receivable

How much will I get?

We will be contacting you individually with details about your rebate amount, your remaining balance and information on what action you need to take next,

For students that are not required to return to campus, we will be providing a 100% accommodation fee rebate for all University-operated and nominated student accommodation, covering the period from 11 January to 11 April 2021.

If you have been requested to return to campus, your rebate period will be from 11 January to 07 March (inclusive).

If you have already returned to campus, you need to inform the accommodation team and will be charged from the date of your arrival.  You will still receive a rebate for the time you were not in accommodation. 

Nominated partner accommodation

What does nominated partner mean?

If you applied for accommodation through the University’s accommodation application and received an offer of accommodation through the university for a room with Host or Unite Students at one of these locations; Battery Park, Oak Brook Park and The Metal Works, you are staying with one of our nominated partners.

What if the offer from a nominated partner is less?

All University of Birmingham students who are staying in nominated rooms with will be receiving the full rebate for their accommodation fees as outlined above. 

What happens next?

As your contract is directly with our partners, after 8 March we will pass on the list of students who applied for a rebate to our partners and their accounts will be adjusted accordingly.   More information will be sent to you by your accommodation provider.

 

Colleges

Professional Services