- How do I get Advice?
- Please log your enquiry via this short form. You will be allocated an initial 20 minute call from an Adviser (we’ll try our best to get back to you within 48 hours). Any subsequent advice can be provided in person*, on the phone or by email.
* as we are currently not on campus this can be via Teams instead
- What do you advise on?
- We mainly advise on academic issues (extenuating circumstances, appeals, complaints, disciplinary, fitness to practice), housing and student funding. We can also advise on consumer and employment issues. If we can’t help we’ll point you towards someone who can.
- Can I see someone in person?
- We usually give initial advice by phone but if you specify that you want to see someone in person we can arrange this. NB as we are currently not on campus this would be via Teams instead.
- What are your opening times?
- Our advice hours are Monday to Friday 10am to 4pm. However, we can offer earlier or later calls or appointments if necessary.
- How quickly will I get advice?
- We aim to get back to you within 48 hours. We do our best to deal with urgent enquiries the same day.
- Is the service confidential?
- Yes, the information you provide us with is not shared with anyone outside of the service without your permission. There are some limited exceptions to this, for example, if it is felt that there is a risk to you or someone else. Full details can be found in our Confidentiality Policy.
- Is the service independent?
- Yes, the BCUSU Advice Service is independent from the University and any other organisations. We provide advice that is in your best interests.
- How do I claim extenuating circumstances?
- You need to submit a Claim Form. You should submit the claim as soon as possible. If you submit a claim more than 5 working days after the assessment deadline, you will also need to provide evidence to explain your delay in claiming.
- Can I challenge my work?
- There is an academic appeal procedure but this does not allow challenges to academic judgement, i.e. a student disagreeing with the opinion of a marker. The academic appeal procedure can be used if there is an aspect of the assessment process that has not been followed. The University expect any points you put forward to be factual rather than opinion. You also need to say how any error affected the outcome of the assessment. An example of a ground for appeal is if your work was supposed to be moderated (i.e. the mark checked by another member of staff) but was not. Your feedback sheet should indicate if your work was selected for moderation.
If you do decide to submit a formal academic appeal the form can be found in the attachments on this iCity page. You have 20 working days in which to submit a formal appeal from the date the results are published by the Exam Board.
- How do I make a complaint?
- You are encouraged to raise your complaint at a local level first. If you want to raise a formal complaint you need to submit a form. Details of the procedure and a copy of the form are on iCity.
- I’ve been accused of academic misconduct. What should I do?
- Try not to panic. It is rare for students to be withdrawn for academic misconduct. You will be given full details of the allegation plus any evidence. We can talk you through the process and possible outcomes. We can help you put together a response and prepare for any meetings. Log an enquiry via this short form and we’ll get back to you.
- Where can I find accommodation?
- There is a range of different types of accommodation available. Our website lists the main types and where to start looking.
- Is my tenancy agreement legal?
- Advisers can read through your agreement before you sign it. Log an enquiry via this short form and we’ll get back to you.
- Can I leave my accommodation early?
- Most tenancy agreements will require you to find a replacement tenant if you want to leave before the end date. We can check your agreement for you. Suggestions of where to advertise your room can be found on our website. You may be able to negotiate an early release with the landlord. If you do, make sure you get this in writing.
- How can I get my deposit back?
- All deposits taken by landlords in relation to assured shorthold tenancies have to be covered by a Tenancy Deposit Protection scheme. If at the end of the tenancy there has been no damage to the property beyond reasonable ‘wear and tear’ and no bills remain outstanding, then the deposit should be returned in full. See our page on deposits for more detail.
- Can I get a rent discount during lockdown?
- The University have already announced details of discounts for students in University Locks. They are also in dialogue with private accommodation partners about any support they are able to offer to students. See here for a summary of the discounts offered by providers plus a template letter for you to send.
- The situation is more complicated if you live in private accommodation. There is no requirement on landlords to offer a discount but it is certainly worth contacting them to ask. If you are struggling financially please make an application to the Hardship Fund.
- Can you help if I’m having difficulties with my student funding?
- Yes. Log an enquiry via this short form and we’ll get back to you.
- How do I apply to the Hardship Fund?
- The University administers funds for students who are in financial difficulty. This includes the Hardship Fund which is for students who may be considering leaving their course due to hardship or unexpected financial issues. More details and the form can be found on iCity.
- Given that some teaching is now online, can I get a fee refund?
- Officials across the UK have said students who normally pay tuition fees will continue to pay full fees in the 2020/21 academic year - whether or not universities are back to face-to-face teaching by the time term starts. For example, the universities minister in England has said as long as online courses offer "quality" and are "fit for purpose", you won't be able to get a refund. If you believe that the University have not taken reasonable steps to deliver what you were promised please contact us for advice.
- I now no longer need my accommodation, can I get out of the contract?
- Not necessarily. Your options will depend on who you are renting from and what the contract says. University-owned accommodation tends to be more flexible than that owned by private landlords. Most tenancy agreements will require you to find a replacement tenant if you want to leave before the end date. We can check your agreement for you. Suggestions of where to advertise your room can be found on our website You may be able to negotiate an early release with the landlord. If you do, make sure you get this in writing.
- I need to self-isolate. What should I do?
- The University has produced a Guide to Self-Isolating which covers pracTical issues such as getting food and looking after your metal heath and wellbeing.
Who can I contact for more advice?
You can log an enquiry with BCUSU Advice Team.
In addition, University support services are still running with staff working from home and contact details can be found on iCity here.