The last few weeks and months have brought unprecedented challenges to, and put pressures on, students, universities and wider society. At Middlesex SU we are incredibly appreciative of the amazing efforts that have been made by the University to reduce the pressures our students face. We are committed to working in partnership with the University to continue to find ways to support our students during this uncertain time.
We at Middlesex SU want to make clear our position on a range of issues that students continue to raise with us. Last week, you would have seen our updates regarding the introduction of a ‘No Detriment’ Policy and we aim to keep our members informed of our position on a range of issues going forward. These will form the basis of our approach when working with the University and talking to key decision-makers in a wider-national context. These updates are not intended to be an exhaustive or definitive list but wish to highlight our position on some of the biggest issues our members have informed us of.
Below we have outlined our key positions on issues relating to Student Fees.
Healthcare Students: Fee Waiver, Reimbursement & Bursary
A huge number of Healthcare Students have taken the brave, compassionate and heroic decision to stop their studies in favour of being thrust into hospitals and supporting the battle against the coronavirus. It is worth reflecting on the unique stress this will be placing on many of them. Ironically, many of them are still paying fees – and are amongst a generation of nursing students that missed out on the bursaries which their predecessors and successors received.
We are calling for an immediate cash payment from the government. This payment should be equivalent to the new nursing bursary and be made to all those students currently studying who did not receive it. In addition, we are calling on the government to provide a fee debt write off for those medical and nursing students who are now on the front line. It feels morally wrong that they will be paying to provide the incredible care which is making us and the nation proud.
Government Write-Off For All Students
We are calling for government action to address the injustice felt by students across the UK who are currently being charged for provisions which are proving radically different to what they initially signed up for. It cannot be left to individual institutions to make a decision or for this to happen on a course by course basis as this would only replicate existing inequalities. It cannot be right that the financial wealth of the university you attend determines what action is taken.
We are therefore supporting the National Union of Students’ (NUS) call for a national fee write off which demands the government write off the debt and reimburse fee payments for the past year of effected and damaged education.
International Students: Compassion
We are also aware of the complex and diverse issues affecting our international students. Due to the global nature of Covid-19, many students studying in the UK are facing extreme pressure as a result of the situation in their home countries.
We are pleased that Middlesex University is taking an understanding and compassionate approach to the unique circumstances facing our international students. We will be focused on gaining a continued commitment to postpone any deadlines for international student fees until the global pandemic is over and international economics has returned to normal, and for Middlesex University to be committed to only taking actions to chase international students for unpaid fees’ when such times as it is reasonable to expect an international student to be able to pay, and that no student is detrimentally affected by a deferring of payment.
We are committed to representing students at every level through this crisis and to maintain a strong dialogue with Middlesex University to tackle issues of concern to our students. Although the doors to MDX House are closed, we are working tirelessly to provide support, information and representation in whatever way we can. If you have an issue you’d like to raise or have feedback about student finance and fee’s please feel free to get in touch with your elected officers.
Anas Badar, Lucy Holland, Khalid Abumaye, Tahmina Choudhery