Summary of COVID-19 university support for students

The comprehensive package of support provided to assist students cope with the impact of the pandemic.

Learning and teaching support

  • The University offered a 30 percent reduction in Trimester 1 fees for students who were not able to come to Wellington because of the travel ban. This offer—which was taken up by 274 students—cost the University $1,003,095.
  • All students were offered an extension to 8 May 2020, to withdraw from courses in which they were enrolled. A total of 442 students took up this offer, resulting in costs to the University of a further $430,000.
  • For Trimester 2, the University has provided a fees scholarship to people whose life or work has been impacted by the global pandemic. As at 20 July 2020, 515 students had been awarded this scholarship, at a cost to the University of $1.5 million.

Accommodation support

Students in University-owned halls of residence were not charged any accommodation fees during alert levels 3 and 4 and were given until 15 May to cancel their hall contract without financial penalty. Students who opted not to return to their hall of residence until Trimester 2 were not charged any fees until they returned.

These fee discounts have cost the University $6,872,560.

In addition, the University provided students living in Stafford House, which is owned by UniLodge, with a four-week full rent rebate over the alert level 4 period, regardless of whether they remained in the hall in that period or had left to stay with family or friends.

This was at a cost of $270,750 to the University.

Hardship Fund support

The Hardship Fund is an emergency fund to help students facing financial difficulties. It is open all year to students who are already studying and need help at a particular point in time. It covers costs such as necessary medical, dental, or optical costs, unforeseen flatting or family problems, and costs related to teaching experience placements.

Hardship Equity Grants are to encourage students who are facing financial hardship to continue in their studies at the University. Students apply before the start of the trimester and usually find out whether their application has been successful in the first week of the trimester—they are designed to give students some certainty that they will receive the necessary financial support to stay on.

The table below outlines the number and value of hardship grants, laptops, and other financial or tangible support programmes provided between 15 March 2020 and 20 May 2020:

Grant type Grants approved Amount granted
Hardship Fund 131 $64,062
Hardship Fund Equity Grants 67 $39,589
Study abroad reimbursement 41 $68,182
Technical support—internet access/connections 3 $730
Technical support—hardware support 68 $61,281
Accommodation grant for students in University halls 2,246 students $5,792,183
Accommodation fee rebate for Stafford house residents 239 students $270,750
Total2,795 $6,296,777

As at 24 July, the hardship funds paid out for this year total $490,323.