Advice for current students

The impact of coronavirus raises a lot of questions within our University Community and we have answered as many as we can below; updating these as the situation evolves. Please email student.centre@bucks.ac.uk if you have any other queries that are not answered below and ensure you follow our official social media channels for immediate updates.

Your Learning

You’ll have face to face on-campus teaching wherever it’s possible to do so, whilst staying COVID-safe. We’ve reviewed every course and module to ensure you continue to receive the best possible learning experience. Nearer to your return date, we’ll provide you with all the detail about where and when your teaching will take place. Please don’t worry about assessments – they’ll be adapted to ensure that you can demonstrate you’ve met the learning outcomes for your course. And your tutors will be there to support you all the way. We’ll also provide flexibility, enabling you to keep up with your studies whenever and wherever suits you. Through our virtual learning environment, you’ll be able to access all of your module materials, the library’s full catalogue, free software and academic support.

It’s still not clear when large gatherings of people will be permitted, or when our Graduation venue will be able to reopen. We also don’t want to make changes that could spoil the experience for you and your guests, and so we’ve taken the really difficult decision to postpone this September’s Graduation ceremonies until summer 2021.

Please don’t worry, it’s only your ceremony that’s being postponed. The Award Boards of Examiners will be held in July as normal. You’ll graduate with your award as scheduled, and you’ll receive your certificate in early autumn as usual. We want to make sure that nothing stops the future you’ve been working so hard to prepare for since joining Bucks.

Plans for next summer are already underway, and we’re working with Bucks Students’ Union and in addition to the ceremonies next summer, we will bring our final-year students together virtually in September to celebrate their achievements. We’ll keep you updated as plans progress and dates are set. In the meantime, you can view the latest information on our Graduation pages which includes some specific FAQs.

Yes. We want to reassure students that our No Detriment Policy (No Detriment – Short Guide), previously known as Exceptional Regulations, means your overall grade for the year can’t go down. Unlike some other universities, we’re not freezing grades, so you still have the opportunity to improve on your grades through your final semester assessments. We’ve adjusted these assessments where necessary to ensure you can demonstrate all that you’ve learned, and to acknowledge the impact of the government’s social distancing measures on your studies. However, you do need to continue with the assessments set by your tutors and let them know if you need support

Every year your grades are considered against regulations to confirm whether you have passed the year, progressed to the next Level, or achieved your qualification. This year we have additional regulations to be used alongside those already in place as a safety net, allowing us to expand the way in which these decisions are taken, and you are given the results you deserve.

Each Examination Board will act on your behalf -using the best measure allowed under the regulations for your individual situation - to address any negative impacts, whilst making sure standards are maintained and that you can be confident in the value of your qualification. Remember it’s in your best interests to continue to work on and submit your assessments so that you have every chance of raising your overall grade, and that the measures we have in place can be used to your best advantage.

As with all other Universities, and to ensure the validity of your award, we will continue to ensure that our decisions are in line with Higher Education sector and Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Body requirements.

For final years, we will ensure that there is no detriment to your overall grade as a result of the Covid 19 situation. The No Detriment Policy (short guide available) acts as a “safety net” to ensure your final grade is not negatively impacted by the marks you receive for assessments submitted after 26 March 2020, and that you will not receive a grade lower than the one you would have achieved based just on work completed in the first half of your final year. Therefore, as long as you pass your modules, final assessments undertaken this summer can raise (but not lower) your final grade and classification.

Modules taken in Semester 2 (February to June) still count towards your overall grade and the marks you receive may raise it. So, it’s in your best interest to continue with your studies and to submit your assessments. You still need to achieve all 120 credits for the year to get an Honours qualification or a Foundation Degree.

In order to receive an Honours award or a Master’s degree, you must achieve a pass mark for the dissertation (or equivalent for your programme). This is because, as the independent piece of work, it is a key element of the degree and it is important to maintain this to ensure that graduates can demonstrate that they have achieved this when seeking employment. It is also essential in demonstrating you have met the programme learning outcomes in order to meet national benchmarks in relation to UK quality and standards. For these reasons the dissertation cannot be compensated.

In some cases we will use compensation – that means we can award credit for modules which have been failed where you have performed strongly elsewhere in the year. Compensation for modules which have not achieved a pass mark may be used where possible, and where you would not be disadvantaged. We cannot use compensation where no assessments have been submitted for a module. Some courses with Professional Body requirements (for example Nursing) may not be allowed to apply compensation and you should check with your course team.

If you have failed modules, and where compensation cannot be used, a further safety net is available: you will be given another attempt at the assessments for a full mark rather than a capped one, so your work will not be penalised because you have to take it for a second time. While there would be a delay in you receiving your award (the normal deadline for reassessment coursework is in August and for dissertations in January) you will have the opportunity to achieve the best grade you can. The No Detriment Policy remains in place when Boards consider your reassessment marks and make your award

For progressing students returning for the 2020/2021 academic year, University exam boards will continue to take into account the impact of the pandemic on modules taught and assessed during the national lockdown.

The No Detriment principle - that you will not receive a grade lower than the one you would have achieved based just on work completed in the first half of the year - will be applied to Level 5 students where their modules will form a proportion of the overall grade at award stage.

For all progressing students we will use compensation where possible – that means we can award credit for modules which have been failed where you have performed strongly in other modules - meaning that no reassessment would be needed and you can progress to the next level of your course. But you must have made an attempt at all modules. Some courses with Professional Body requirements (for example Nursing) may not be allowed to apply compensation and you should check with your course team.

Where compensation cannot be used and you have to be reassessed, it will be for the full mark rather than a capped one.

You will be allowed to progress to the next Level trailing up to 30 credits from your current year: you will need to retake assessment for trailed modules in order to complete the Level during your next year. You will be given the opportunity to take the assessment during the referral period, and you would be strongly advised to do so before the start of the next academic year. Some courses with Professional Body requirements (for example Nursing) may have different progression rules and you should check with your course team.

Examination Boards can in certain circumstances award credit for modules which have been failed where you have performed strongly in other modules. This is called compensation. It cannot be used where you have not submitted any work for a module, nor for modules which are excluded from compensation such as dissertations (or equivalent), pass/fail modules, or modules where all elements have to be passed. Some courses with Professional Body requirements (for example Nursing) may not be allowed to apply compensation.

It is important that you meet the requirements of the PSRB and so – as in all other universities – some elements of the policy won’t be able to be applied in the same way. Your course leader will be able to explain further how this applies to individual PSRB courses.

The Government is doing all it can to keep staff and students at our Universities safe during this unprecedented situation, while mitigating the impact on people's education. It has published answers to frequently asked questions about how the coronavirus may impact high education. These can be found here.

Yes - if you have been set coursework, you should continue to work on this as usual and submit online by the agreed deadline. Any changes to coursework requirements because of the impact of Covid-19 will be communicated via Blackboard. If you have any concerns, please contact your course tutor.

We set deadlines so that students don’t have to submit assessments for different modules all at once, so it’s best if you plan to hit the original dates given on Blackboard. Don’t worry though if you’re struggling to meet the deadline because late submission is still allowed. You can hand in assessments up to 10 working days after the original submission date. During the Covid-19 emergency period, late submissions will be given the full mark and not capped at 40%. This means that those who need it can take advantage of these two-weeks. You should let your tutor know if you will be using the late submission point.

If you find you might struggle to meet the late submission point, you should contact your tutor to see if you can have an extension – this would not normally be for more than 15 working days beyond the original (not the late) deadline.

Please note that late submissions are available for first assessment opportunity points, but not for reassessments.

Our priority is to make sure that you're able to complete final projects and dissertations. We've informed you where we've changed assessment methods because you can't access equipment at our campuses due to the Government's social distancing guidelines.

Please be assured that we're doing all we can to enable and encourage you to complete your final assessments so that you can receive your degree on time. We promise that:

We will take into account the extraordinary and challenging conditions under which you're preparing for, and taking, your final assessments when we mark them. This includes where you haven't been able to complete experimental laboratory projects and other empirical studies.

You will be provided with the opportunity to demonstrate what you have learned.

You will continue to receive regular online supervision for your dissertation/project.

The University recognises that all students will be affected, directly or indirectly, by Coronavirus. We have therefore decided that you don’t have to submit Mitigating Circumstances claims and that all reassessment set for the remainder of the academic year will be given the full mark and not be capped at 40% (where passed). This takes into account the impact of Covid-19 on you all; allows you to concentrate on your studies rather than completing claim forms; and stops you having to seek evidence, especially from the NHS.

However you should still continue to let us know if you test positive for Covid-19, or are self-isolating by contacting thestudentcentre@bucks.ac.uk. Students at Partner Colleges should follow their own reporting arrangements.

If you have an allegation of academic misconduct - for example plagiarism - then the normal Academic Misconduct process will be followed. Where the allegation is proven, then the penalty will stand; this means that if the penalty requires reassessment for a capped mark and then a mark reduction, that will still apply.

Your School teams and lecturers are now communicating with you directly via email and Blackboard to provide you with information in real-time.

Please follow the guidance issued where you’re studying.

Please follow the guidance issued by your employer.

The University will provide a package of support for students who have interrupted their studies which will include access to the virtual learning environment, restricted access rights to the Library as an external borrower and, after the Covid-19 restrictions are lifted, general access to University buildings. This includes visiting the Students’ Union facilities, school offices, and Gateway building, but excludes labs, workshops and classrooms.

Your results and employability

Whether you are waiting to hear if you can progress into the next year of your course or expecting your final award, you will receive your results for this academic year online, through a new portal, instead of by post. For Nursing and Allied Health students, interim board results will still be posted on Blackboard, as usual, but your final results confirming that you can progress into the next year or what award you have been made will be on the portal. At Bucks we release results for each course as they become available, after the Boards of Examiners have met during June and July. We’ll email you a link and a guide to the Results Portal once your results are ready. You’ll be able to access the portal by using your Bucks login. Please contact IT@bucks.ac.uk as soon as you can if you don’t know your login details, and remember that you can reset your password online via this link.

The Results Portal will contain all the information you require regarding your results this year, but you can also find out more information under Results on our Academic Advice pages.

If your results are not what you hoped and you need to resubmit, help and support is there for you. You can contact your module or personal tutor or the Learning Development Unit LDU@Bucks.ac.uk. In addition, if you are struggling with your mental health please contact us, see ‘Your wellbeing’.

We appreciate the challenges all graduates face as they enter the highly competitive employment market, so we’re offering you the opportunity to pursue a postgraduate Certificate of Business Leadership after you complete your degree. Open to graduates of all disciplines, it’s been specially designed to boost your career prospects, and is offered at no cost to you. It’s a distance-learning programme with an emphasis on developing your skills in problem solving, creative thinking, leadership and management. Applying knowledge in practice is a hallmark of this programme, as is true for all courses at Bucks. Find out more here. If you need more advice about your career or concerned about next steps, please contact careers@bucks.ac.uk.

Your finances

Please don't worry - you will continue to receive the payments for both types of loans that you're expecting for the remainder of your studies this year.

The University has temporarily moved to delivering teaching online on direction from the UK Government and we are continuing to monitor advice during this difficult time. While, the situation is beyond our reasonable control, the University is committed to taking steps to minimise disruption to you and the actions we are taking are for the protection of our staff and students.

We are making plans for the new academic year and will provide face to face on-campus teaching wherever it’s possible to do so, whilst staying COVID-safe. We’ve reviewed every course and module to ensure you continue to receive the best possible learning experience. Nearer to your return date, we’ll provide you with all the detail about where and when your teaching will take place.

We will continue to ensure that you can access our learning resources online and can continue to receive teaching. You can also submit assessments and receive feedback on your performance. We will continue to take steps to ensure that assessment deadlines are reviewed and have agreed exceptional regulations to ensure that Boards of Examiners have flexibility in considering your academic profile – while maintaining the quality and standards of our awards. We believe that we are taking all reasonable efforts to enable you to continue your studies to the best of your abilities. Therefore, the University is not offering any tuition fee refunds due to the current situation.

We recognise that the current crisis may have impacted on your financial circumstances.

The Bucks Hardship Fund and offers up to £250 to those of you in need. To apply please contact student.centre@bucks.ac.uk. If you need any other advice or guidance please contact the Student Centre or the SU.

Yes, this is all covered. You don't have to worry as your lecturer will record your attendance.

Yes, nothing changes. If you are still using childcare then you will continue to receive a Childcare Grant. (See more details at this link)

There's no need to be concerned. Undergraduates can apply for funding now, explaining the personal reasons for your application e.g. that your studies were impacted by Covid-19 and circumstances beyond your control. You can find out more here. Applications for part-time undergraduate and postgraduate students should be available soon.

Don't worry, you will continue to receive both types of loans you're expecting for the remainder of your studies this year.

Your wellbeing

This can be a stressful time for many different reasons and all elements of your wellbeing is our priority. All students have access to online support 24/7 from Big White Wall, or the The Multifaith Chaplaincy is available for chats and support, or our counselling service is still open online, please email counselling@bucks.ac.uk.

University facilities and services

We’ll open as many COVID-safe facilities as we can by September including the library, gym and catering outlets, in line with the UK Government’s advice. Our labs, studios, and skills and simulation spaces will all be open too. We’ll make sure they’re COVID-safe and ready for you to apply the theory you learn in practice. Measures include:

  • Screens at receptions, help desks and catering counters
  • One-way systems and dedicated entrance and exit routes
  • Clear social distance signage around all of our buildings
  • Frequent cleaning at all locations throughout each day and ready supplies of sanitiser

From Freshers’ Week onwards, Bucks Students’ Union will offer a broad and diverse range of events and activities through The Big Deal, all completely free of charge. And all within the recommended COVID-safe guidelines. Find out more about this year’s programme, from entertainment, to societies and internships, finding jobs, and boosting your employability here.

If you need the library now, before we are back on campus, you can find out how to access library resources online.

The service is temporarily suspended until further notice. But take a look on the Bucks Students' Union website for more information before the new term starts.

Accommodation: University-owned Halls

Yes, you can apply for accommodation from 6 July here, where you can also find more information about our halls and rent charges.

We know that you may have concerns about accommodation for the next academic year, and that many of you are reticent about signing contracts with private landlords. We’ve worked with the Students’ Union to develop a new accommodation package – which they fully endorse – for all new, returning and graduating and alumni students for 2020/21. Recognising the unprecedented challenges of Covid-19, we’ve reduced all of our accommodation charges between 10-30%.

Rooms in our Covid-safe student accommodation will start at £80 per week and include:

  • No deposit, flexible contract period and a public health crisis guarantee
  • All utilities, free Wi-Fi and contents insurance
  • 24 hr security and on-site pastoral and welfare provision
  • 1/3 off University gym membership once lockdown restrictions are lifted
  • Free membership of ‘The Bucks Café Club’ giving you discounts at all campus cafes which we expect to be open for at least takeaways from September
  • Bedding, cleaning and welcome packs available on request

We won’t charge you a deposit, and your contract won’t start until you’re required to be on campus and take up residence. Furthermore, if there is another public health crisis which prevents you from accessing our campuses, you’ll be released from your contract at no additional cost. We will let you know when you can start applying for residential halls for the new term. Visit the accommodation area on the website for all rents.

Many of you who are, or have been, living in our halls of residence have said you’re worrying about the continuing costs of accommodation during the summer term. It’s important to us that we do all we can to support you, and so we have taken the following unprecedented decisions to help those in University-owned halls make the coming months easier:

All students who have left halls and wish to be released from their halls of residence contract can do so from 5 April. You will pay no rent beyond that point.

Those students who still living in halls and wish to remain until the end of their contract (12 July) are very welcome to do so. We recognise that many of you have lost work that you relied on for income. As a consequence, we will give you a 75% discount on your rent for accommodation from 5 April to the end of the contract. We understand that some students might still experience financial hardship and so we can offer some flexibility with rent payment schedules.

Please email accommodation@bucks.ac.uk urgently, if you have not already done so, otherwise you risk paying more than you need to. Please be aware, if you request a release from the contract, you won’t be able to sleep in the room after 5 April, as there will be no contract in place.

Yes. We will need all keys back. We will not insist on keys being returned before we process the early release. However, we ask that you return the key as soon as possible, while still complying with the Government’s social distancing and travelling guidelines.

When we process the release, we will deactivate your fob access. If you return to collect your belongings or return the key, you will only be able to gain access via Security. We expect all keys to be returned by 30 June but will keep this under review as it may change because of new government guidance.

If you decide to post your key back, send them directly to the reception of your halls of residence. Please use a well-sealed, padded envelope, send by recorded/registered delivery and include only your ID and Name (not the room number).

We have put in place a system that will allow our residents to collect belongings, but this will be kept under constant review, in case government guidance changes.

Social distancing measures will remain in place. We have created a booking process, so that you can book a specific date and time to come and collect your belongings. You’ll need to contact us to arrange the collection of your belongings and stick to the guidelines we set. We will email all students who have chosen to be released from their contract by email and give you full details regarding the process. If you arrive at the halls, we will have to refuse entry.

Please note, you will not be able to stay overnight when you collect your belongings. Please ensure that you remember to return your key when you leave the accommodation.

Important: Please be aware that, should government guidance change at any point, then we will contact everyone and will need to delay the appointments until a time that travel is possible. We understand that some non-UK students may not be able to return at all, we are monitoring government guidance and when we have details about how these situations will be managed, we’ll share with you as soon as we can.

Yes, as long as the visit is booked in with us and we have email confirmation from you, we can arrange for a key to be available so that they can take your belongings on your behalf. Please be aware that if you make this arrangement, we can’t be responsible if they do not complete the task as you would like.

It will also mean that you need to return the keys in the post, please see the FAQ regarding keys for instructions.

Please bear with us as we haven’t worked out all the details yet.

Yes, any rent that has already been incurred will need to be paid. This is only fair to all our students who are up to date with their rent payments.

However, we understand that some students will be experiencing financial hardship as a direct result of the Covid-19. So please don’t worry as we’re able to offer some flexibility with rent payment schedules. Email accommodation@bucks.ac.uk with more information and we’ll be in touch.

You should also contact student.centre@bucks.ac.uk as we are putting plans in place to support students who are struggling financially as this time.

If your account ends in credit, then we can either roll the money over to next year (if you want to stay in halls) or arrange a refund. We’ll process refunds as quickly as we can, once the room is cleared and your key is returned. Please be patient with us as we’ll be dealing with a high volume of work.

If you’ve told us you’re staying and requested the discount, we will confirm how much you need to pay when we’ve processed the request.

We understand that some students will be experiencing financial hardship as a direct result of the Covid-19. Please don’t worry as we’re able to offer some flexibility with rent payment schedules. Email accommodation@bucks.ac.uk with more information and we’ll be in touch.

If you have financial concerns, you may be able to get help from the new Bucks Emergency Allowance or the Hardship fund.

Please be assured of our commitment to you and to maintaining the safety of the accommodation. We are endeavouring to continue to provide all the same services. However, there may be some changes or disruption that we can’t prevent or foresee. What we do promise is that we’ll keep you informed and will always give you as much notice as we can.

Yes, we will apply the same percentage discount to your rent from the 5 July to the end of your contract.

The government now says that ‘one-off’ moves are permitted, which means that we are able to allow you to return. However, the guidance does not allow you to swap between households. Therefore, if you wish to return, you will need to commit to the following:

You must return for a minimum of two weeks for this to be considered a ‘one-off’ move and comply with guidance. For instance, you can’t stay for just one or two nights while packing up your room and collecting belongings, as this would be against the guidance.

Once you have moved back, you must remain in the halls. Guidance does not permit movement between households, and so you can’t stay at home or with friends while you are a resident in the halls. Therefore, once you come back, you wouldn’t be able to go home for the weekend and then come back to the halls.

Any non-UK students must have been resident in the UK for 14 days before returning to the halls. This is the government’s ‘quarantine’ process and due to the shared accommodation and resulting risk to current residents, we cannot currently facilitate the quarantine period in the halls.

You need to let us know in advance. At this time it is really important that we know who’s here.

Unfortunately not. The government guidance still does not permit free movement between households. It only allows ‘one-off’ moves; therefore, it is OK to leave the halls and go home, but you cannot freely move between two households.

Your current contract ends on 12 July 2020. We will contact all students who are still in residence nearer to the time to see if you have plans in place after this date. Please don’t worry if you might not have plans in place (e.g. because of travel restrictions) - we will make the necessary arrangements.

We are currently putting plans in place and will contact you if you are still in halls, to let you know of the details of how to apply if you need to. Due to government guidance and the need to minimise risk, we will only be able to take bookings from people for specific reasons therefore at the time of application you will be asked to confirm why you wish to stay over the summer. Every application will then be individually assessed.

To avoid spreading residents across all sites, we are planning to move everyone who needs stay to Hughenden Park Student Village, as the other halls will be closing. If you apply for the summer accommodation, we will contact you with the necessary instructions and information.

We are offering accommodation at a lower rate than we have in previous years. We have also agreed that students staying for ‘academic purposes’ will continue to receive a 75% discount on their rent, ‘academic purposes’ means that you need to stay to complete placements, or training, or similar that is required as part of your course and will need to be confirmed by your course leader. The rates for the summer will be:

  • Standard summer rate - £126.00 per week
  • ‘Academic’ summer rate - £31.50 per week

Yes. Under the circumstances, we realise there is a lot that is unknown for all of us and you may need to change you plans, perhaps at short notice. We just ask that you keep us informed when your plans change. The release from contract will be from the date you leave halls and cannot be applied retrospectively.

No. We’re sorry, but this would be against the Government’s guidance on social distancing and would put students and staff at greater risk. That’s way we’ve updated our visitors’ policy so we can protect our University community. We would also discourage any socialising with other students who are staying in the halls. Please read the Government’s Stay At Home advice and follow the guidance to keep you and others safe. We will continue to monitor the government guidance and will let you know if our policy changes.

We are currently not accepting any new bookings because of the Government advice around social distancing. If you have been made homeless, please email accommodation@bucks.ac.uk, so that we can review your circumstances on a case by case basis and offer support.

Accommodation: Private

While we cannot directly affect the actions of private landlords, we have written an open letter asking them to recognise these exceptional circumstances and, where possible, consider rent discounts or early release from contracts at no additional charge. If you do have a landlord who is able to help, please do share your positive stories so that we can recognise the difference they are making for the benefit of the Bucks’ student population. Here are some more FAQs that may help:

While we cannot directly affect the actions of private landlords, we have written an open letter, which you may use, asking them to recognise these exceptional circumstances and, where possible, consider rent discounts or early release from contracts at no additional charge. If you do have a landlord who is able to help, please share your positive stories so that we can recognise the difference they are making for the benefit of the Bucks’ student population.

Maybe, but landlords are not required to let you out of your contract, despite the current situation.

Many landlords rent properties as a business and may not be able to afford to let people out of contracts. However, landlords can choose to be flexible. We suggest that you talk to them, explain your situation and ask them if they will release you.

Look at your contract. Almost all contracts for housing are for a fixed term (most likely for a number of months, or from a start date to an end date), but some contracts have a ‘break clause’. A break clause allows you to give notice as long as the contract lasts at least six months. But even if there is a break clause, you still have to give notice, normally two months. If you share a contract with your housemates, you can only give notice if you all agree. If you do have a break clause, accommodation@bucks.ac.uk can review it for you and offer advice.

If your landlord does agree to release you, we’d recommend trying to get something in writing to protect yourself.

Yes, probably. Despite the current situation, your contract is still in place and valid. If the rent is unpaid, regardless of whether you live there, your landlord can still use the court system to pursue for rent that is owed. That’s why we recommend that you speak to your landlord and see what arrangement you might be able to make.

We would recommend that you speak to your landlord as soon as you can. Your landlord might be able to offer you some flexibility with payments or even a short period of free rent, although they are not obliged to do so.

Landlords will know that their tenants may be experiencing financial hardship as a result of Covid-19. The government have arranged for banks to offer mortgage payment holidays to homeowners and landlords, this means that your landlord might be able to get a payment holiday that may allow them to be flexible with you. But a payment holiday means that they still have to pay the mortgage, just later. You should also contact student.centre@bucks.ac.uk, as we are putting plans in place to try and support students further.

No, you shouldn’t. The government are putting a halt to new eviction proceedings until the end of August, this means that your landlord needs to give you three months’ notice. The purpose of this is to ensure that people do not lose their home as a result of financial hardship caused by Coronavirus.

However, this is just a delay, meaning that your landlord can ask for eviction once that period ends. That’s why we recommend that you speak to your landlord and see what arrangement you might be able to make.

You can find out more about your rights in the Government advice for landlords and renters reflecting the current coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.