Frequently Asked Questions for current students

If you're a staff member or prospective student, please visit our other advice pages for the latest information.

The questions and answers below are relevant to current students.

At all times, please continue to follow the latest government guidelines on coronavirus.

Read the latest information

Fees and funding

Will I still receive my student loan payments?

The Student Loans Company has confirmed that Maintenance Loan payments will be made as originally scheduled. Please refer to your Student Finance entitlement letter for the exact date.

You can find more information on the Government website.

Tuition fees

2019-20

In line with advice from Public Health England, the University moved all teaching online from 16 March 2020. Library and other services are also available and do not require a VPN to access. While the need to take these steps is the result of government advice to protect the health and wellbeing of staff and students due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and beyond our reasonable control, the University is committed to taking all reasonable steps to mitigate the impact on its students.

The University believes that the provision of such services online will enable it to continue the provision of learning opportunities and outcomes during this difficult time. We are confident that the steps we are taking are appropriate in the circumstances and will enable your continued progression on your degree unaffected. Therefore the University is not offering any tuition fee refunds in this context.

2020-21

The University believes that the provision of such services online will enable it to continue the provision of learning opportunities and outcomes during this difficult time. We are confident that the steps we are taking are appropriate in the circumstances and will enable your continued progression on your degree unaffected. Therefore the University is not offering any tuition fee refunds in this context.

International travel

International students: advice before you travel

Before you travel to the UK from any country, you are required to provide your contact details to the UK government online.

You must complete the above form, even if you’re travelling from a country where you do not have to self-isolate when you arrive in the UK.

If you do not complete the form before you arrive in the UK, it might take you longer to enter the country. You cannot submit the form until 48 hours before you’re due to arrive in the UK.

Read our Travel and Self-Isolation information

International travel: what is affected

The University has taken the decision to postpone or cancel all University-related international travel.

For students, this means that:

  • all international field trips are cancelled
  • all international travel for placements is cancelled
  • all students already overseas are being strongly advised to travel home with no detriment to their studies
  • the decision to travel back to the UK should be taken with reference to the local advice from the government where the student is based students already overseas will be contacted with further information
I've paid for a field trip, will I get a refund?

You may be able to get a refund. If you paid separate or additional fees for the field trip, your department should be able to identify those and carry out a refund.

If the cost of your field trip was part of your overall tuition fee, a refund might be possible where your academic department or school is unable to offer a suitable alternative. Please contact your department for more detailed information. Should you have any queries, please contact the Student Fees Team.

Advice for students currently on a work placement or studying abroad

Follow the advice and guidance of your host institution (where relevant), and keep up to date with national guidance in your host country. 

If you have any questions please contact your academic department or globalopps@sheffield.ac.uk

My host university has suspended teaching or my work placement has asked me to work from home

If you cannot return home, you are encouraged to continue with your studies as far as possible while universities are closed so that you get the most you can out of your time abroad. Make sure you engage fully with online teaching where possible.

In addition, your departmental tutor will be able to assist you with queries you may have which relate to academic matters and the impact on your time abroad.

If you have been asked to work from home, or your work placement has been suspended, it is very important that you follow the advice from your host organisation. If you feel unwell, then you must follow the instructions received from them for advice. Also, remember to look for any messages from the University of Sheffield.

In addition, your departmental tutor will be able to assist you with queries you may have which relate to academic matters and the impact on your time abroad.

Due to travel restrictions, I can't get back to the UK to continue my studies

We know that some students may be unable to travel to Sheffield, due to international travel restrictions, visa delays, medical reasons or a disability. We are committed to ensuring that you are not excluded or disadvantaged for this reason, and you will not receive a penalty if you cannot attend. You will be able to access our induction activities and all our digital learning online, until you are able to join us later in Semester 1 or at the start of Semester 2.

Should you be a current, or new student, and you believe you are not going to be able to return to attend University due to travel restrictions, please contact your academic department directly.

If you have accommodation secured at the University you won’t be able to use, please contact Accommodation Services, or if your contract is for private accommodation then the Student Advice Centre can provide you with advice about your circumstances.

If you have University of Sheffield insurance and have questions about your cover or whether you will be eligible to make a claim for travel or accommodation expenses or refunds, you can email insurance@sheffield.ac.uk or call +44 (0)114 222 1510. If you have taken out private insurance, you should check your coverage with your provider.

I am meant to be studying abroad soon, can I still go?

If you are registered on a programme with study abroad in the 2020/21 academic year as a mandatory and integral part of your course, then this may continue, subject to risk assessment (including Foreign Office travel advice) and restrictions in place at your host university. You will have been allocated a host university, and should liaise with your Department about the necessary arrangements. This includes having university insurance in place before you travel. We appreciate that there may be insurance exclusions around Covid-19, and are putting appropriate safeguards in place should there be further outbreaks.

The continuing risk posed by Covid-19 means that optional study abroad and international placements are cancelled for the 2020/21 academic year. Your department will advise you of alternative arrangements as soon as possible. If you have any questions or concerns please contact your academic department.

We will continue to review the situation and adjust our guidance accordingly, so it is important that you stay in regular contact with your academic department.

I have secured a placement abroad, can I still go?

To ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of our students and allow departments to make alternate arrangements all optional placements abroad have been cancelled for the first semester in the 2020/21 academic year. Your employer may be able to support you working remotely or delay your start date so do discuss this with them. For year-long placements, as long as your placement duration is at least 24 weeks, your placement will meet the minimum requirements. Your department will contact you with further details if this affects you.

Check the latest updates from our Careers Service

Can I still consider an overseas placement next year?

The University is unable to permit overseas travel for placements during Semester 1, so travelling overseas may not yet be an option. At the moment, there is a lot of uncertainty across the globe, with different countries responding to COVID-19 in different ways with some countries in lockdown longer than others. As a result, many employers are cancelling overseas placements or deferring start dates. There are, however, a wide variety of opportunities out there for you to continue to develop yourself and your skills albeit not via a year long placement abroad. Investigate UK-based placements, virtual placements or internships and other ways that you can develop your language skills or global awareness.

My study or placement abroad plans have been cancelled or
changed, what should I do?

Study abroad
If you were due to study abroad in 2020/21 and these arrangements have been cancelled or changed, you should speak with your departmental study abroad or Erasmus lead contact in the first instance.

Your department will also be able to provide further guidance on module choice for the
2020/21 academic year.

Work placements
If you were due to begin a work placement abroad and your placement arrangements change, for example your start date is delayed, your placement duration is shortened or you will be working remotely rather than on-site, please notify your departmental placement contact. If you submitted your placement details on Career Connect, please also notify placements@sheffield.ac.uk.

If your Year in Industry/with work experience placement has been cancelled, please notify your departmental placement contact and, if you submitted your placement details on Career Connect, please also notify placements@sheffield.ac.uk. If you do not find an alternative before the start of the next academic year, you will simply transfer onto a Programme without a Year in Industry/year with employment experience and will return to your studies to undertake your next year of formal education.

Check the latest updates from our Careers Service

Accommodation
If you are now expecting to live in Sheffield, University Accommodation is still available. If there is a need for you to arrive earlier or later than the start of your University Accommodation Contract, accommodation will be available to you. Payment plans can be arranged to assist you with managing your finances with flexible start dates as needed.

Learn more about University accommodation

For accommodation concerns which are not covered above, please email the accommodation office, who will be able to assist you with more information:
accommodationoffice@sheffield.ac.uk

Further accommodation information can be found on the Students’ Union website and you can email the Student Advice Centre with specific questions advice@sheffield.ac.uk

Finance
If you are facing any financial difficulties due to unforeseen costs, you may be able to access support through the University’s hardship fund.

For further information contact the Financial Support Team: financialhelp@sheffield.ac.uk

Further student finance information can be found on the Students’ Union website and you can email the Student Advice
Centre with specific questions.

Placements and field trips

At the moment it is unclear the full extent to which restrictions will impact on travel and placements. It is however reasonable to expect that these will be impacted significantly.

Our staff are working together and planning for differing scenarios and further guidance to support this is being prepared.

Fees and finance for undergraduate study abroad students

Tuition Fees

Studying in Sheffield in 2020/21, where you have expected to be abroad for the full year

If you are still completing the Year Abroad module, whilst in Sheffield in 20/21, the 20/21 tuition fee will be protected at the Full Year Abroad rate of £1385 for Home students. If you are an overseas student, please check your tuition fee rate: Year Abroad - 2020/21 Fees

If you are not completing the Year Abroad module, whilst in Sheffield in 20/21, and intend to complete your Study Abroad in 2021/22, and are studying a full year curriculum from Sheffield, your tuition fee in 20/21 will be £9,250 (Home students). If you are an Overseas student you will be charged the same full-time rate as when you started your course. If you are not studying abroad in 2020/21 or in any future year of study and intend to complete your course studying standard curriculum from Sheffield for the duration of your degree, you will pay the standard full-time tuition fee, each year. Home students will pay £9,250 each year and Overseas students will pay the same full-time rate as when they started their course.

Studying in Sheffield in semester 1 2020/21, and studying abroad for semester 2, where you have expected to be abroad for the full year

If you are not completing part of the Year Abroad module in Semester 1, whilst in Sheffield in 20/21, and are studying a standard curriculum from Sheffield in Semester 1, your tuition fee in 20/21 will be £5,318 for Home students. If you are an Overseas student, please check your tuition fee rate: Year Abroad - 2020/21 Fees

If you require further advice, the Student Fees Team is here to help. Please email us at studentadmin@sheffield.ac.uk.

Maintenance loans

Your maintenance loan entitlement will be based on the information you provide in your loan application. If the information changes, your entitlement may change. For further advice, please contact Student Finance directly via the GOV.UK Student Finance web page.

If you require further advice, the Student Fees Team is here to help. Please email us at studentadmin@sheffield.ac.uk.

Guidance on applying for a tuition fee loan/maintenance loan with Student Finance England

Apply for your 20/21 Student Finance loan(s) now. If it transpires that you are not spending a Full Year Abroad in 20/21, you can contact Student Finance later to let them know but you must apply now. Further information can be found on the GOV.UK Student Finance web page.

If you change your course shortly before or after the start of term, for example from studying a year in industry/abroad to a year studying in Sheffield, the University will notify Student Finance.

You will receive your Maintenance Loan and the University will receive your tuition fee on the basis of the initial application. It could take six weeks for Student Finance to process the change and update your entitlement to take into account the change of circumstances.

If you require further advice, the Student Fees Team is here to help. Please email us at studentadmin@sheffield.ac.uk.

Information for international students

Please also check the information above, which is relevant to all students.

I am an international student, if I have returned to my home country, will the University cancel my Tier 4 visa?

In order for the University to carry on sponsoring your Tier 4 visa, you must remain actively engaged with your studies and in contact with your department. If you are concerned that you will not be able to return to the UK to resume studies on time for the next academic year you must discuss this with your department. They can advise you about whether you can study remotely for a period of time or whether your course requires you to be in the UK.

If you are able to engage with online study, submit your assignments, and you plan to return to the UK in the future then the University will not report your visa for cancellation. However, this has to be monitored carefully as the UK authorities may change their rules during this period.

If you cannot return to the UK by the start of next academic year and your department advises that you cannot continue to study remotely on your particular course then your visa may be affected. You should discuss this with International Student Support Team.

Similarly if you are unable to access online teaching from home and submit assignments due to unreliable internet access or resources, you will need to consider taking a leave of absence during this period, so that you are able to resume study once normal teaching resumes.

There is information on applying for leave of absence and the impact on your Tier 4 visa available on our website here: How to apply for a leave of absence. If taking a leave of absence will impact on your ability to complete your studies within the original course end date, the University will have to report your visa to UK Visas and Immigration. When you are due to return to the UK, the University will be able to support you by providing you with a CAS and help you in applying for a new Tier 4 visa.

The Home Office has also set-up a helpline for international higher education staff and students if they have immigration queries related to coronavirus, including questions about urgent, compelling, compassionate cases where an international student or other visa national based abroad needs to travel to the UK. The helpline can only speak to the visa holder or applicant about individual cases. If a third party wishes to speak on their behalf, they must have the visa holder’s permission. Call 0800 678 1767 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, calls free of charge) or email CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk.

If I have already left the UK, is there anything I need to do with my visa?

We understand that during the current situation with coronavirus, you may have decided to leave the UK, or you may have been asked to leave the UK by your home country's government.

Please ensure that you complete the online form to notify the International Student Support Team of this.

There is no need for you to return your BRP card to UK visas and Immigration (UKVI), unless the 'Valid Until' date has passed, or you have received specific written instructions from UKVI asking you to do so. You can find information on how to return your BRP card to UKVI on the SSiD webpages. 

If you have previously registered with the police, you must inform the police if you will be absent from the UK for more than two months. You can do this by sending an email to: overseas.visitors@southyorks.pnn.police.uk

Please note that you only need to do this if:

  • you are a national of a country that requires police registration and
  • you have completed the online registration with the police and are awaiting your police registration certificate, or you have completed the online registration and have now got your police registration certificate as well.

In the email, please include your name and date of birth and let them know if you created your online account with a different email address from the one you are currently using.

My visa is due to expire, but I am unable to leave the UK.

If your visa expires between 24 January 2020 and 31st July 2020 and you cannot leave the UK because of travel restrictions or self isolation related to Covid 19 and have no other grounds to extend your visa, you can request an extension by updating your records with the Coronavirus Immigration Team (CIT). If you have already had your visa extended to 31 May 2020 via this concession, you visa will be extended automatically to 31 July 2020.

If you are still studying at the University you may also be able to extend your Tier 4 visa in the UK. You are strongly advised to submit a Tier 4 visa application before your current visa expires, instead of emailing the Coronavirus Immigration Team in the first instance. Please contact International Student Support if you need further assistance.

If you are eligible to submit a visa application in a different visa category, you can contact the Student Advice Centre for help.

Individuals who cannot leave the UK due to travel restrictions or self-isolation and wish to stay in the UK in the long-term can also now apply from the UK for a visa switch. Please see the Home Office guidance for details.

You should not rely on this UKVI concession being extended, and should try to leave the UK or make a new visa application (if you are eligible) before your amended visa expiry date. If you cannot do this please contact International Student Support with details of your individual circumstances so we can advise you further.

The Home Office has also set-up a helpline for international higher education staff and students if they have immigration queries related to coronavirus, including questions about urgent, compelling, compassionate cases where an international student or other visa national based abroad needs to travel to the UK. The helpline can only speak to the visa holder or applicant about individual cases. If a third party wishes to speak on their behalf, they must have the visa holder’s permission. Call 0800 678 1767 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, calls free of charge) or email CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk.

I am a postgraduate research student and have returned home, what are the implications for my Tier 4 visa?

We understand that some international students may have returned home to their families, or because their sponsors requested they do so. If you are confident that you can engage with your research whilst at home, please follow this guidance:

  1. Discuss your proposal to continue your research at home with your supervisor, who will guide you on whether it would be practicable for you to continue your research from home. This will depend on a number of factors such as the point you are at with your research, your subject discipline and whether you have ongoing laboratory or experimental work. You must also have the approval of your supervisor to continue your research project remotely.
  2. Ensure that you have the resources available to continue your research from home and regularly keep in contact with your supervisor.
  3. If you have left the UK and are continuing your research remotely, please notify the International Student Support team by completing the online form. Tier 4 students can remain sponsored by the University but the University would need to keep a record of this.

This has to be monitored carefully as the UK Visas and Immigration may change their rules during this period but the government have so far indicated that the Home Office will not consider it a breach of sponsor duties to offer distance learning to existing Tier 4 students in the UK, or those who have chosen to return overseas but wish to continue their current studies.

If your supervisor cannot support your proposal to continue your research from home, you may wish to consider taking either a short absence by using your annual leave or take a leave of absence. These options will mean that you will stop work on your research.

A leave of absence may have an impact on your Tier 4 visa but this will be reviewed on a case by case basis. This will be dependent on whether the period of absence will have an impact on your original submission date.

I can't access my University inbox in my country, how do I receive course notifications? If you are in a location where you have problems accessing your University email, you now have the option to receive important course and departmental notifications from Blackboard to a personal email address.

If you need to do this, add your personal email address to Blackboard and you will receive any Blackboard notifications from your academic department directly to that address.

Other University communications, including emails from your department and tutors, will not be sent to that address, so you should continue to check these webpages for the most up to date coronavirus information.

To use your personal email address, follow the steps on the web page here: How to change your email address in Blackboard.

I currently have a short term student visa, what happens when I return to the UK?

If you obtained your visa at the port of entry (i.e. a stamp on your passport), the short term student visa is only valid for a single entry use.

If you decided to go home as face-to-face teaching has been suspended, but plan to return to the UK at a later date, you will need to apply for a new short term study visa.

Otherwise, if you applied for entry clearance and obtained the visa before you arrived in the UK, the short term student visa should be multi-entry. This should be confirmed on the vignette (sticker) on your passport. For more information please visit the University’s Short Term Student webpage or contact the International Student Support team at international.students@sheffield.ac.uk.

I have an appointment to register with the police as an overseas visitor, do I still need to attend this?

South Yorkshire Police have cancelled all registration appointments until further notice. This includes appointments for new registrations and changes of details. Please do not attend Snig Hill Police Station as you will not be seen.

At this moment in time they cannot state when any new appointments will be released. They will liaise with the University to keep us informed of any changes as and when they may happen. They have advised that you do not need to worry about your police registration requirement during this time.

Whilst they cannot see anyone in person they can still be contacted. For information on how to create an online account or update the police if your circumstances change, please read our guidance.

I am being threatened and abused, or I have witnessed an incident. What should I do?

We take all allegations of abuse and harassment very seriously and have a zero tolerance stance to any associated behaviour. You can report the matter to the University by telephoning Security Services on 0114 222 4085 to raise your concerns, or 0114 222 4444 for an emergency response. You should also report any incident to the police.

If you feel that you have been the target of harassment or bullying then you can use our Report and Support system to make a confidential disclosure or a formal report. This will be addressed within 72 hours.

We understand that this might be a difficult time for staff and students, so we want to thank you  all for your continued support of your friends and peers during this time.