Explainations not Excuses
We realise that sometimes we may not always be able to change our services based upon your feedback. In explaining the reasons behind why we cannot always make some of the changes that you suggest, or the reasons why we are unable to provide you with the information or documents that you need, we hope to help you better understand our procedures and policies.
Why does a replacement UCard cost £5?
Most services that we provide for current students are free of charge, however because of the production costs involved with producing a replacement UCard, and as an incentive to ensure that students take appropriate care of their card, we have made the decision to implement a £5 charge.
We do not feel that this charge is excessive considering that all students receive a free UCard upon arrival at the University. This fee does not apply if a replacement card is required in exceptional circumstances, for example, if the card has been stolen (and a crime reference number is supplied), if the card is damaged through general wear (if card is over 2 years old), or if the expiry date on the card needs to be extended in line with a student’s record.
We have benchmarked with other Higher Education institutions to ensure that our prices remain fair to our current students for all of our services, and our pricing policies compared very favourably. We continually monitor this to ensure that this remains the case.
Why do I have to pay for certain SSID documents?
Most of the services we provide to former students have a charge associated with them. This is because producing any document for graduates requires us to search student record databases (in some cases also our manual archives in other University buildings) meaning that costs are incurred in terms of staff time and/or materials (particularly if the requested document is produced using water-marked or headed paper). We provide this service to current students and recent graduates (up to 12 months after graduation) for free and do not think that it would be fair for these groups to incur the costs of document production for former students. We are always looking for ways to keep the cost of our services down and have benchmarked against other UK universities to ensure that we compare favourably to other institutions wherever possible.
Why do I have to update my address details myself? And why can this change take 24 hours?
As a student you have a responsibility to keep the details on your student record up to date, this ensures that should the University need to contact you, or send any documentation to you, they can do so. By having responsibility for the details on your own student record you can make sure that if any of your details change you can easily update your record through your MUSE account yourself.
We have a system in SSID which we can use to produce certain documents instantly with your new address after a change is made, however in some circumstances we recommend that you wait 24 hours before coming back to SSID for a document with your new address details because the new address details need to be uploaded onto your student record by CICS (Corporate Information and Computing Services). All new addresses are automatically checked against the Royal Mail’s post code database to ensure that the address details provided are correct and accurate, however this update is done overnight.”
Why can't I get a council tax exemption certificate from SSiD?
Council regulations state that students on a full-time course (lasts at least one academic year, requires attendance for at least 24 weeks per year and involves at least 21 hours of study, classes or work experience per week during term time) are exempt from paying Council Tax.
PhD students in their writing up year are normally entitled to Council Tax Exemption and should collect an exemption letter from SSiD. Once you have submitted your thesis you will no longer qualify for Council Tax exemption and you should inform the Council of this change. If you have to re-submit your thesis following Minor/Major Corrections, your case for exemption will be assessed on an individual basis by the Council. You will need to collect a letter from your department detailing your attendance as well as a letter from SSiD to take to the Council.
If you are studying at the ELTC then is unlikely that you will be able to claim Council Tax exemption as you are not on a continuous course. What we recommend doing if you are to be starting a course after your ELTC course is to ask SSiD for a certificate of student status and take this to the council with your offer letter where they will assess your case on an individual basis. However, please note that a decision on your exemption is entirely at the council’s discretion.
If you are an Erasmus student then you will need to provide a letter from your home University detailing your attendance there and also collect a Certificate of Student Status from SSiD. If you take both of these documents to the Council they will assess your situation on a case-by-case basis
If you are on a Leave of Absence you are still entitled to Council Tax exemption because you are still enrolled on a full-time course and intend to return following the Leave of Absence. However, if your absence runs for an extended period the Council may need to re-assess your situation.
Why are queues in the SSID office not shorter?
We deal with over 300,000 customer enquiries every year and a large percentage of these enquiries come in the form of people at the front counter in the Students' Union. Whilst we try to serve people as quickly as possible in order to minimise queueing times, it is not always possible for us to prevent queues forming - particularly during busy times of the year such as September and October.
We try our best to ensure that the front counter is always adequately staffed and the distribution of staff is weighted in favour of front counter service. However, as with any customer service outlet, we face unexpected challenges such as staff sickness, covering busy periods over lunch time and unexpected high demand. In order to try and manage footfall at the counter we publish graphs showing our busiest periods (12-3pm) so that people can plan their visit to coincide with our quietest times.
In order to increase the channels through which people access SSiD, a large proportion of the services that we offer can now be accessed through our Online Store or through the SSID Services web pages.