We, along with Universities Wales and the Welsh Government, have been engaging and working with higher education providers on the impact of the pandemic on their institution, staff and students.
We will do what we can to support the financial sustainability of the sector during this crisis, and help ensure that current and new students continue to be in a strong, properly regulated and properly supported higher education sector, and this will remain our priority throughout the crisis and beyond.
We have re-assessed our priorities, particularly when it comes to the weight of regulation, with flexibility around fee and access planning, and other regulatory processes, including requests for data and information.
- Circular W20/11HE: Covid-19 impact on higher education providers: funding, regulation and reporting implications
September 2020: The new Higher Education Investment and Recovery Fund for 2020/21 supports universities to maintain vital capacity and aid economic recovery in the context of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
October 2020: We announced allocations of £10 million to support students.
We also confirmed the arrangements for the new £1.5 million Graduate Support Fund.
January 2021: We received an additional £40 million from the Welsh Government for universities to prioritise funding towards the ‘most vulnerable’ students, and to strengthen advice and support services for students.
HEFCW guidance and information
Equality, diversity and inclusion:
- Circular W20/24HE: Covid-19 impact on higher education providers: information on equality, diversity and inclusion
Consumer protection, student expectations and quality:
- Circular W20/19HE: Covid-19 impact on higher education providers: information on consumer protection, student expectations and quality
Higher Education in a Changing World: Adapting in a Time of Crisis features case studies from around Wales, and shines a light on how universities supported their students, staff and communities during the most testing of times. They show how universities:
- prepared materials for home schoolers
- held their performance studies showcases online
- found digital solutions to teach subjects such as engineering
- provided online learning to support teachers to continue teaching, and
- created resources to help reskill furloughed workers.
The report also highlights how students’ unions responded by delivering food packages to isolating students, by keeping their students communities connected, and by celebrating the work of students.
Higher education providers should refer to guidance from Universities UK Public Health Wales and the Welsh Government.
Universities Wales has been in close contact with Welsh universities to ensure that they have access to all relevant materials and information, while universities have been keeping Universities Wales and Universities UK apprised of institutional developments.
Universities Wales is also ensuring that the Welsh Government is informed of ongoing developments.
The UK Government has launched the Job Retention Scheme, which allows businesses to furlough employees and apply for a grant that covers 80% of their usual monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 a month. HE institutions can claim under this Scheme but should satisfy themselves regarding the eligibility of the employees to be furloughed:
UK Government financial support may also be available from the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans Scheme (CBILS), the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loans Scheme (CLBILS) or Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF):