A Robert Gordon University student representative has praised the university’s decision to give students living in halls a rent rebate until in-person teaching returns.
Currently, many students are having to pay towards accommodation despite being told not to travel to on public health grounds.
And some universities have taken the decision to move lessons online until even later in the year amid the tighter Covid-19 restrictions.
Now Robert Gordon University has announced it will offer students returning to RGU-owned accommodation a refund until face-to-face teaching commences.
The university will also offer those studying a flexible approach when returning to halls.
In a statement, RGU said: “Lease terminations from January onwards can now be submitted with a seven-day notice period, with the termination backdated to the day the request is received.
“We are also offering a flexible and individualised approach for students returning to RGU-owned accommodation, following the Scottish Government’s recent advice on the staggered return to university.
“For those students who are taking up a new lease, we are able to modify your entry date to suit your academic timetable and provide a delayed entry date when face-to-face teaching is scheduled to begin.
“For those students who are returning to university accommodation, and whose academic timetable indicates a delayed return to on-campus teaching, then a credit or refund can be offered for the period January 4, 2021, until face-to-face teaching recommenced.
“As always, the safety and wellbeing of our students is of paramount importance. In line with Government guidance, we are instructing our students not to return to their university accommodation until they are required to undertake face-to-face teaching or for limited extenuating circumstances.
“These are unprecedented times and we do not want any unnecessary financial stress and anxiety among our students. As such, we are offering a very flexible and individualised approach to those students who are requesting rent reimbursements or lease terminations in RGU-owned accommodation.”
Ross Leven, president of communication and democracy at RGU Union, added: “It’s great to see RGU once again lead the way in supporting students.
“The steps they have taken include offering refunds until in-person teaching starts, offering shorter notice periods and offering flexible entry dates for students starting their lease.
“It’s also important to note, however, that for the majority of students – living in private halls and flats – there is no support available.
“While we of course call on all purpose-built student accommodation providers and private landlords to support students, realistically this will not be possible in all cases.”