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Coronavirus frequently asked questions

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Current advice for prospective students who have applied to the University of Gloucestershire

Last updated: 5 November 2020



Your application and aspirations are important to us, and we have outlined some FAQs for prospective students covering:

  1. Starting in January or September 2021​
  2. Accommodation
  3. Postgraduate applicants
  4. International applicants

 



1. Starting in January or September 2021: Most Common Questions

Is my degree ex​​​​pected to start as advertised?

Yes. At present we intend to deliver our undergraduate and postgraduate courses as planned in January and September 2021 and we actively encouraging our applicants, their supporters and advisers to prepare for this.

We will of course keep you informed as the situation develops, including any social distancing guidelines.​

Wh​​​​​​​​​​​at will my course look like? 

We expect that some social distancing requirements will continue to apply for the foreseeable future, and therefore are planning a combination of on-campus activity and online teaching at least for the first semester – blended learning. We are optimistic about allowing you on campus from the start of term, although not for every module, or every day.

As we are a relatively small university spread across three campus locations in Cheltenham and Gloucester, we expect to be able to offer a combination of small group teaching and tutorials on campus, with other sessions taking place online. We will then move to full face-to-face teaching as soon as restrictions allow.

We intend to ensure that all practical teaching is delivered on site, and that you have access to the equipment and facilities you need to get the most from your chosen course of study. The demands of social distancing will likely mean that some modules will need to be delivered online to allow for those practical modules to be taught safely, but all online resources and sessions are prepared to be as interactive as possible, in line with the needs of your subject area. 

While blended learning will look different for each course, every student on every course will have the opportunity to learn and develop through a variety of methods and means, and we will provide full access to on-campus teaching, facilities and group work as soon as allowed.​​​

Alongside this, you will be assessed using a combination of methods, as you would expect for your chosen course.

Are teaching ​all lectures online?

No. We are reviewing course by course what will be the best blend of online and face-to-face teaching that we can deliver within social distancing rules. Compared with other universities, we have smaller numbers of students on each course. If we can deliver lectures face to face during the year, we will.

Isn't online higher ed​​​​​​​​​​​ucation just a poor-quality substitute for the real thing?

Online delivery of some teaching can be a fully effective way of supporting students to learn if blended in combination with other teaching and learning activities that take place face to face. The university has invested over several years in a high quality, flexible online learning environment (called Moodle) and we have developed a range of high-quality learning materials. We will continue to use some online materials next year, as that will be the only way in which we can achieve social distancing. However, our intention for the next academic year is to combine online with access for students to our wide range of specialist facilities, with small group teaching and tutoring, to ensure that all of courses enable all of our students to undertake a high-quality, rewarding and enjoyable programme of study.

If some of my course is taught online​​​​​​​, will I get a discount on my tuition fees?

The University recognises that students will be concerned about whether they will get value for money from their tuition fees next year.  We are not intending to reduce the tuition fee below £9,250, because our intention is to provide for our students a University experience that represents excellent value for the fee we charge.  This is in line with Government guidance.  Although we do expect to provide blended learning programmes, with a combination of online and campus-based, face to face activities, blended learning is a fully effective and academically valid way of supporting students to study.  And it is no cheaper for the University to provide than traditional courses.  As a University, all of our income is reinvested in providing the best experience we can for our students, and social distancing requirements will make it more expensive, not less expensive, for us to operate teaching and learning.  So the University's priority is to provide for our students a high quality, enjoyable, rewarding offer of both the course and the wider University experience in return for the tuition fee. 

Student Finance England has also confirmed that Tuition Fee, Maintenance Loan and Dependents' Grant payments will continue to be paid as usual. Students are encouraged to apply for their student finance as soon as possible to avoid delays in payment in the autumn.

To discuss your individual circumstances, please contact our Money Advice Team via moneyadvice@glos.ac.uk. ​

How will you​​​​ make sure it is safe?

We will follow Government guidance at every stage. We are expecting that social distancing will still apply for the foreseeable future, so we are reviewing all of our buildings and accommodation to assess the number of people they can safely accommodate, and we will organise teaching, learning and other university activities within those constraints. Our campuses are Covid-secure, including extra cleaning regimes, one-way systems in shared areas, safe room capacity, new signage, and sanitisers etc. to ensure our office and teaching spaces, and student halls of residence, meet Government guidelines in time for the start of the next academic year.

My course includes a placem​ent. How will that work?

Most of our courses include compulsory and optional placement opportunities. We are working with our placement partners including local education organisations and the NHS to ensure a range of placement and experiential learning opportunities take place. These opportunities will vary and adapt particularly in line with government advice on social distancing requirements. The details of what is feasible will vary from case to case, depending particularly on how each placement provider needs to adapt to social distancing requirements.

We have also put alternative arrangements in place where needed, including alternative assessments, research, in-house and on-line projects, flexible placement start and end dates, and reduced patterns of hours in placement. For some courses and placements we are also able to offer self-led or self-directed start-up businesses, freelance work, work from home arrangements and self-employment options. These opportunities are available to ensure experiential learning continues to take place in line with the learning outcomes of the programme.

We have a strong package of support for students looking for and on placements, and we will running our suite of support services to all new and returning students in September, including workshops, group and one to one guidance sessions, mock interviews and CV advice (currently online but moving to face-to-face when we are able).​​​​

What about the​​​​​​​​​​​ ​​social side of university?

The university agrees that going to university is about more than the course. For most students, it is also about leaving home, making new friends, settling in to a new place and community, and having new experiences that help you develop. This is very important to us as part of your whole experience of university. Therefore, as long as Government restrictions allow, we will keep our campuses open, and support students to enjoy the social experience of joining the university community, within social distancing rules.

What hap​pens if I ​​am ​​required to shield or isolate from others due to underlying health conditions?

If you have a relevant medical condition or specific personal circumstances which mean you need to shield, please contact our Student Services staff at disability@glos.ac.uk​ who can talk with you about arrangements in place at the University and, if necessary, help you complete a risk assessment to determine how you can best engage with your studies.

How ​​​​​​​​will I fi​​nd out if things change?

We will of course keep you informed as the situation develops, including any changes in guidelines that mean we need to adjust our plans. We will send updates to our applicants by email, and will keep our website FAQs up to date so you can check them at any time. ​


 

2. Accommodation

3. ​​​​Postgraduate applicants​​​​​​​

I am considering making an application for 2021 ​but have not submitted it yet. Can I still submit a​​n application?

Yes, we are accepting and welcoming applications for January and September entry.  

What is the latest date I sh​ould accept my offer for my ​​​postgraduate degree?

The university does not have an acceptance deadline for postgraduate students, and we can still accept new students up to two weeks after teaching has commenced. However, we encourage postgraduate students to apply and accept your offer by August (for September entry) and December (for January entry) to allow sufficient time to prepare for your studies to commence. For international students, you should allow extra time as you may need to apply for a CAS and visa before commencing study in the UK.​

Will it be more competi​tive in 2021?

We are not expecting competition for our degrees to be different from previous years and want to reassure you that we welcome and consider each and every application we receive. Our advice is to make your application as early as possible. 

How will my cours​​​e be taught?

We expect that some social distancing requirements will continue to apply for the foreseeable future, and therefore are planning a blended learning approach - a combination of on-campus activity and online teaching - at least for the start of 2021 for those postgraduate courses starting in January. All online resources and sessions are prepared to be as interactive as possible, in line with the needs of your subject area.

As we are a relatively small university spread across three campus locations in Cheltenham and Gloucester, we expect to be able to offer a combination of small group teaching and tutorials on campus, with other sessions taking place online.

While blended learning will look different for each course, every student on every course will have the opportunity to learn and develop through a variety of methods and means, and we will provide full access to on-campus teaching, facilities and group work as soon as allowed. ​​​

​It is too early to say how courses starting in September 2021 will be taught, though we will continue to monitor Government guidance and keep you informed.  


 

4. International applicants

What ​​​is the guidance for accommodation for international students?

Please refer to section 3 above for information relating to: how to apply for university managed accommodation, details on contract and payment terms, and information regarding travel corridors and UK Government advice and list of countries required to self-isolate on arrival to the UK.

Our accommodation team is on hand to support applicants with any individual questions or concerns via email accommodation@glos.ac.uk​

How will I travel to m​y accommodation from the airport?

For 2020/21 academic year, we are offering international students a free airport taxi service from London Heathrow and Birmingham International airports. This is valid only for students travelling to their accommodation in Cheltenham or Gloucester and must be booked at least 7 days in advance/no later than 23 December for students arriving week of 4th January 2021. Students must book their free airport transfer through the arrivals survey email sent by the Visa and Immigration team.

Is there ​​​​​accommodation remaining for January 2021?

We strongly encourage students to book student accommodation in University managed Halls of Residence. Applicants with an unconditional firm offer can still book their accommodation in Cheltenham or Gloucester. We are offering a 6-month contract (24 weeks) from 2nd Jan to 19th Jun 2021. Students will need to pay £200 as Advance Rent and the rest by Direct Debit in two instalments (11th Feb & 1st Jun). You can book your accommodation through the accommodation portal, or email accommodation@glos.ac.uk​ for further information.

Will I need to arrive early for my course starting in Janua​​ry to self-isolate?

To allow for 14-day self-isolation period (as is currently required for many countries – please check here) it is strongly recommended that students arrive in Gloucestershire week commencing 4 January 2021. Students must inform the University (via the arrivals survey email sent by the Visa and Immigration team) of their arrival date and place of residence.

How do ​​I guarantee my accommodation for September 2021?

We are offering international students a September 2021 accommodation guarantee. To secure your accommodation guarantee, you must book this by 11th August 2021 through the acc​​ommodation portal. You can email accommodation@glos.ac.uk for further information.

​For international students, will the University of Gloucestershire accept a letter fr​​​om school/college if I cannot obtain a final transcript before September due to COVID-19? What documentation is required to be made an unconditional offer?

Yes, we will accept a formal stamped letter from your School or College if you are unable to obtain a final transcript.

Standard documentation for an unconditional offer is:

What if I cannot get my English qualification as my High School Diploma is cancelled?

The University of Gloucestershire can accept the English grade from a High School Diploma for certain countries in place of IELTS. We would need to review each application and if you find yourself in this situation where you are unable to obtain a final transcript then we would consider TOEFL Home as evidence of English to support your application to the course.

Please contact admissions team and they can advise further on your options available - admissions@glos.ac.uk​.

The University also accepts a number of English Language tests as equivalent to IELTS.

Find out which English language tests we accept

My offer includes an IELTS condition, but I am currently unable to sit an English language test due to the Coronavirus pandemic. What should I do?​​​​

We are monitoring the availability of English language testing across the world closely. IELTS have now released an online testing op​tion which is recommended by the University of Gloucestershire (unfortunately this is not currently available in China).

Please make sure you check our list of accepted English language qualifications in case you already have something else which will meet your conditions. Details of commonly accepted alternatives are available for each degree on our course pages.

EU applicants (who do not require a Student Route visa) and do not hold an English qualification can be offered the University's English language test on a case by case basis. Eligible applicants will be contacted by the university's Admissions Team.

We accept a range of English language tests and equivalencies including IELTS, PTE Academic, TOEFL iBT, CPE and CAE. If we add any new options to these lists will email you to make sure you are aware.

There is no deadline for you to provide a valid English language test, we intend to be as flexible as possible. However, if you require a visa you will need to adhere to the CAS request deadlines at the University of Gloucestershire.

We also offer Pre-sessional English courses online which include an English placement test if you are unable to provide IELTS or equivalent qualifications. This will allow us to determine which level course you should take. 

Find out more about our pre-sessional English courses

Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions​​​, if international students have to start the January semester with a period of online study and remain in their home country what would the visa implications be?

At present, the university plans to deliver its undergraduate and postgraduate courses as planned in January 2021 via blended learning where possible. However, if due to COVID-19, travel restrictions are still in place in international countries which means students are unable to travel to the UK, you may need to undertake a period of online study with us or choose to defer your place to September 2021.

The university would conduct its standard CAS eligibility checking as part of the normal admissions process to ensure applicants were eligible for a CAS prior to entry onto the programme. This is to ensure applicants are not disadvantaged by being admitted, only to later discover they are not eligible for a visa.

EU st​​​​udents are expected to apply for the relevant immigration category before 31 December 2020, in order to stay in UK for the duration of their degree. If they cannot arrive before 31 December what implications will this have on applying for a student visa?

The current guidance from the UK government is that EU students would then need to apply for a Student visa from their home country. Any change to this regulation will be communicated to applicants and via the UK government.

Does the University offe​r an English Language test?

Yes. We conduct online English language tests for applicants who hold offers which are conditional on English language. The test consists of the following components: Speaking Test (15-minute Skype interview), Listening Test, Reading Test and Writing Test.

Applicants complete the reading and writing tests before the interview, in which speaking and listening is assessed. Skype interviews take place at a mutually agreeable time.

You may need to take this test if:

  • You have taken a test, but it is now out of date
  • You have taken a test over 2 months ago and have scored 0.5 lower than needed in one component (whether in an IELTS test or another alternative English language qualification)
  • You have taken an English language qualification that we do not yet recognise
  • You are an EU applicant (who does not require a Student visa) and do not hold an English Language qualification
  • You are applying for one of our Pre-sessional English courses (please note, in this instance, the fee for the test is included in the course fee).  

​To apply for a test, you need to have a student ID number and have a conditional offer 'subject to CEFR B2 level in English Language'. Tests cost £80 and take place throughout the year. If you subsequently enrol at the University of Gloucestershire, you will be reimbursed the £80 fee. 

Find out more about our eng​lish language tests

Can I take the online English placement test if I do not attend any IELTS tests and have no IE LTS scores?

Yes, international applicants are able to take the university's English placement test and subsequently enrol onto a Pre-Sessional English online course (either 6 or 10 weeks dependent on the test score). Following successful completion of the Pre-Sessional English course the applicant can then enrol onto the University degree programme.

Does t​​​he university offer an online Pre-Sessional English course?

Yes, in response to COVID-19 we have moved our Pre-sessional English course to online delivery, allowing international students the opportunity to develop their degree-ready English language skills using our recorded and our live and interactive webinars.

Courses are currently taught online using live webinars, pre-recorded lectures and guided, independent learning.

These courses will help you develop a range of skills needed for study, including academic writing, speaking skills for seminars, presentation skills, academic vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation. There are assessments at the end of the course that you need to pass in order to progress onto your chosen degree programme.

Find out more about ​​our English language courses

Can I take the online English placement test to pursue 6-week PSE if my current IELTS score makes me eligible me to take 10-week​​​​ PSE?

Yes, if at least one month has passed since the IELTS test was taken.   

Is it possible to transfer directly on to my degree once I have taken the online place ment test (if I achieve equivalent of the required entry requirements for the degree e.g. IELTS 6.0 overall with 5.5 in each component?)

In some case this is possible, for example, if you have the required IELTS score but your test is now out of date, or if you have taken an IELTS test over 2 months ago and have scored 0.5 lower than needed in one component (whether in an IELTS test or another alternative English language qualification). If you are unsure please contact admissions@glos.ac.uk to enquire about your specific circumstance.   

Wha​​​​t times will the online Pre-Sessional English course be taught and how will it be delivered?

Courses are currently taught online using live webinars (5 hours per week), pre-recorded lectures (5 hours per week) and guided, independent learning (10 hours per week). Our live sessions will be delivered both in the morning and afternoon UK time to accommodate students from different time zones.

Do I need to apply for a visa to study the online Pre-sessional English course if I am remaining in my home country rather than travelling​​ to the UK?

You will only need to apply for a visa for study due to take place in the UK. Even then, this will only be possible once visa application centres have reopened.

I have been selected for a Postgraduate Int​​​ernational Scholarship and to accept the scholarship need to pay £1,500. If for any reason I cannot attend in January 2021 (due to COVID-19)) will I be refunded 100% of my deposit?

For 2020/21 academic year, if an applicant/ student needs to withdraw for reasons related to COVID-19 eg. health, travel restrictions, they will be entitled to a full refund, except where the student has participated in online tuition in which case, tuition fees relevant to that study are chargeable. Administration fees will be waived and 100% refund given.  

If the first semes​​ter of my degree is delivered online and I choose not to enrol due to main reas on being to study in the UK, will I be en​​​​titled to a full refund?

For 2020/21 academic year, if the student's main reason for applying to study in the UK, is driven by a desire to be physically present in the UK, and they are unable to do this for travel restrictions reasons out of their control, they will be entitled to a full refund, except where the student has participated in online tuition in which case, tuition fees relevant to that study are chargeable.  ​