Covid-19 FAQs for International students
The global pandemic is causing challenges for us all. Here at the University of Northampton, we are working hard to ensure your transition to study with us is smooth and we aim to keep you updated with all news in this fast moving environment. Below are the answers to some frequently asked questions about coming to study with us in 2020.
University Director of Estates, Becky Bradshaw, outlines the range of safety measures we have put in place for re-opening our campus.
Dealing with your application in a timely manner, whilst ensuring we consider you as an individual will continue to be our aim at this unusual time. We will aim to acknowledge your application within 48 hours and then contact you again with more information, once it has been processed.
Will it take longer than usual to process my application?
Our Admissions Team is processing applications as normal. This is a very busy time of year for us, so please be patient – if you have received an acknowledgment, we will be in contact with you as soon as possible.
I have been asked for documents but I cannot access them as my institution is closed.
If you are having difficulties providing any documentation we have requested, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your situation. One of our team will be pleased to advise you.
I have already received an offer from UON, will this be affected?
Your offer of a place to study with us will not be withdrawn, however, in a small number of circumstances it may be necessary to make you an alternative course offer.
I have just completed my undergraduate studies. If I don’t get my degree award when I expected will I lose my place?
We will be as flexible as we possibly can at this difficult time, including keeping last arrival dates under review but there are government regulations that we must follow. We will make you aware of any deadlines but if you want to discuss your situation, please contact email@example.com.
I have almost met the English requirement for my programme. Is there any flexibility?
If you have not already done so, send your current English Language results to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will advise you on the options available to you. You must still meet the minimum requirements stated by UKVI to gain a student visa.
I have taken an IELTS test but I am waiting for the certificate. What should I do?
When you receive your Test Report Form (TRF) by email, forward it to email@example.com. If you do not have the certificate tell us the TRF number we can verify your results.
I can’t book an IELTS test due to test centre closures. What should I do?
The latest information is available on the IELTS web site. We also accept a range of other English qualifications – please refer to our English Language Requirements to check what tests and scores are accepted.
Do you accept other English tests?
We do accept a range of other English qualifications and are continuously reviewing our policy, so please refer to our English Language Requirements to check what tests and scores are accepted.
My course normally requires an interview – will this be affected?
Wherever possible we have removed the requirement for interviews. Where interviews are still required they will be conducted remotely and we will provide details of how this will be conducted.
Will I lose my place if I do not currently have access to my work to provide the portfolio you have requested?
Stick as closely as possible to the advice in ‘Your Portfolio Guide’ which we sent you when we asked for a portfolio, but we understand that your most recent completed work may not be available to you. We will consider photos of your work, earlier work, part-finished work, abandoned work and conceptualisations, if you explain your situation.
When is the deadline for paying my deposit?
It is best to pay your deposit as soon as possible after you receive an offer. This will secure your place on the course and give you access to the accommodation booking system. There is no specific deadline for deposits, but you must pay a tuition fee deposit of £5,000 before we will issue your CAS. Remember, though, there are still many stages to go through before starting your course – receiving your CAS letter, applying for and receiving your visa, for example – and you must aim to meet our standard Enrolment Deadline of Friday 12 February for postgraduate courses and Friday 29 January for undergraduate courses. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible if you think you may be arriving after that date.
If I pay my deposit and am unable to attend will I get a refund?
If travel restrictions mean you can’t get to Northampton you will be able to start your course online and join us on campus when travel becomes possible. If you are prevented from meeting the conditions of your offer by the effects of COVID-19, we will refund your deposit.
How can I find out about my CAS?
If you have paid your tuition fee deposit and have any concerns or query related to your CAS, please email CAS@northampton.ac.uk.
When should I apply for my visa?
You should only apply for your student visa when you have definite plans to travel to start your studies on campus. This is because the vignette issued by UKVI overseas is only valid for 90 days, so you must be ready to travel within this time.
When will I need to arrive?
Our standard last enrolment date is Friday 12 February for postgraduate courses and Friday 29 January for undergraduate courses and you should aim to be with us by then, if at all possible. You must contact email@example.com to seek advice as soon as you think you may not be able to arrive by that deadline.
What if I can’t arrive by the last enrolment date?
If you are prevented from joining us on campus for reasons related to COVID19, we will provide online support so you can enrol and engage with the programme. You can then join us on campus when travel is possible. In the meantime, you will join scheduled sessions synchronously using technology, or engage with a recorded version of the face-to-face session. So that you can complete your award in the normal time, we will notify you of the latest date on which you can arrive. Otherwise you must defer to the following year/intake. If you are unable to arrive after the start of term, please be aware that the situation may change at any time. It may become impossible for you to travel to Northampton due to restrictions either in the UK or your home country, or because it is not possible to obtain a visa. If you are unable to join us for the start of term, you should book University accommodation from the start of term and your rent will be automatically adjusted for the number of weeks you occupy your room.
Will all courses be available to start online?
For some courses that use specialist facilities or resources, this may not prove possible – for example where you can’t achieve learning the learning outcomes without physically using those facilities or resources. We are currently determining which courses may be affected in this way and seeking ways to avoid this problem. If studying entirely online is simply not possible for your course, will advise you to consider other options, such as deferral or alternative courses.
Can UON help me get my visa if the visa centre in my country is closed?
We know that visa centres are closed in some countries but the situation is changeable and you should check the VFS Global website regularly. Universities cannot directly intervene in your visa application.
Do I need a visa to start my course online?
You will not require a student visa if you start online because you are unable to travel to the UK. Once you receive information about when you can continue your course at the University, you will need to apply for a visa.
Who can I contact at UON for advice?
In the first instance you should contact firstname.lastname@example.org. If our Admissions Team cannot answer your query we will put you in contact with the person who can.
Is UON attending any of the planned Education Fairs in my country?
At present University staff are not carrying out any recruitment activity overseas. In some countries virtual events are being organised, so you should check with the event organiser. We are also hosting online Open Days and subject-specific events which you can find out about by following us on social media.
Is the UON Regional Office still open in my country?
You can still contact Regional Offices and our network of local representatives for advice and assistance, but staff may be working from home in some cases. Visit our pages for information about your country for contact details.
When will there be specific information about my course and how will I find out?
Planning for socially distanced study in accordance with government guidelines is at an advanced stage. We will shortly begin to communicate details about specific courses as they are finalised in regular emails.
At the University of Northampton we have developed a style of teaching and learning that is ideally suited to the situation in which we find ourselves now. Our expertise in delivering our courses via a mixture of face-to-face sessions and innovative use of modern technology, avoiding the use of mass lectures, means we have not been forced into sudden and radical adaptations of our methods. Our students regularly praise this modern learning experience.
What will teaching be like for January 2021?
If you are able to join us in Northampton for the start of term you should do so, to ensure you have the best possible learning experience and to avoid the potential for future travel restrictions, visa issues or other reasons preventing you from coming to Northampton. All courses will have some face-to-face delivery, with online learning making up the remainder of the teaching and learning experience. The appropriate level of social distancing will be in place with clear markings on floors and all necessary measures will be in place to ensure your safety and the safety of our staff. If the COVID-19 situation prevents you from travelling to the UK you can study online until you are able to join us.
Are you offering the option to study 100% online?
All courses are expecting to offer some face-to-face learning, so joining us on campus will ensure you have the best possible learning experience during these difficult times. Some practical courses, such as those which include placements as a statutory requirement, cannot be delivered by synchronous learning, however and you will be informed after you apply, if this is the case.
The option of studying 100% online should only be used as a last resort, if restrictions prevent you from travelling to the UK. By not travelling to Northampton if you are able, you run the risk of future travel restrictions, visa issues or other reasons preventing you from coming to campus.
What will the learning experience at UON be like?
All courses will have some face-to-face delivery, with online learning making up the remainder of the teaching and learning experience. For students who are not self-isolating and students self-isolating in University halls at Bassett-Lowke, we are setting up a laptop loan scheme for those who do not own a laptop but it is advisable for you to bring your own. It will not be possible to loan laptops to students who are self-isolating in private accommodation, so it is essential that you bring your own.
Specialist teaching spaces, such as laboratories, workshops and studios will be open for those courses that need them. Social distancing will be maintained with clear markings on floors and all necessary measures in place to ensure everyone’s safety.
How will practical courses like Nursing or Podiatry, for example, be taught?
Specialist teaching spaces and clinics will be open and students will have the necessary levels of face-to-face teaching and practical experience to meet the requirements of the course. Social distancing will be maintained at 2 meters, with clear markings on floors and all necessary measures will be in place to ensure your safety, the safety of our staff, patients and members of the public. Online learning will make up the remainder of the teaching and learning experience.
Will I be able to start online and then travel to the University later to continue my course?
If you are able to travel to Northampton to start your course at the beginning of term we strongly advise that you do so. This will give you the best possible teaching and learning experience. However, we understand that your ability to travel at this time may be effected for a number of different reasons. Should this be the case then you will be able to start your course online and join us for on-campus teaching as soon as you are able to.
If you are due to graduate in 2021 and currently learning online outside the UK due to the pandemic, you will need to join us on campus for your last semester by 6 April 2021, if you wish to be eligible to stay in the UK to live and work, or to look for work, under the new Graduate immigration route after you graduate.
If I start online will it be the same fee?
Yes. The fee will remain the same as you will still be receiving the same high quality teaching and learning thanks to our expertise in delivering courses through a mix of face-to-face teaching and the innovative use of technology. Working in this way is not new to us – it has been a distinctive feature of UON’s teaching and learning style for a number of years and is highly valued by our students.
Will my certificate say that the course was taught online?
No. Your certificate will state simply your degree subject and classification and will be exactly the same as in any other year.
What can I do to get ready for coming the university?
You can take part in online Open Days and subject-specific events which you can find out about by following us on social media.
What if I start the course online and then am not able to get a tier 4 student visa to continue my course in the UK?
Every case is different and we will consider your individual circumstances at the time. You may have a number of options including continuing to study online, suspending your studies temporarily and withdrawing from your course. If you are prevented from coming to the UK as a consequence of COVID-19, we will consider your case very sympathetically.
What if there is a second wave and courses move entirely online?
We hope that there will not be a second wave, of course, but should courses move fully online you will not have to leave the country. If regulations allow, you could return home to continue your studies but there is a chance you might not be able to return for some reason. If you remain and study online, you will be able to re-start face-to-face classes as soon as that is allowed again.
When will I find out about the exact plans for my course?
Plans for each course are under continual review, to determine how many students can be in class and how many hours of face-to-face teaching will be possible. All courses will receive some face-to-face teaching and we will let you know the exact arrangements for your course, when you receive your timetable.
Is it possible to study a UON course via distance learning?
We have a range of programmes available entirely by Distance Learning. More information can be found on the Distance Learning page of our website.
We have planned very carefully for your safe arrival and welcome in Northampton and taken steps to minimise the financial and logistical impact that coming to the UK may have, for example in self-isolate, welcome and induction. If your question is not answered below, please contact email@example.com for assistance.
Will I have to self-isolate when I arrive in the UK?
You will not have to self-isolate if you come to England from one of the travel corridor countries.
If you are arriving from, have travelled via, or have stayed in a country not on the list during the 14 days prior to arriving in England, you will have to self-isolate. You will also have to complete a health screening form and keep with you during you journey to the UK.
Your self-isolation will take place in the accommodation that you have booked. Before you travel to the UK you must complete this form with details of your travel arrangements and contact address. The UK government has provided guidance on how to go about self-isolating when you arrive.
If you are arriving in England after 15 December 2020, from a country that is not on the travel corridor list, you will able to reduce your period of self-isolation if you pay for a Covid-19 test after five days. If the test is negative, you will be allowed to end your period of isolation.
You will not be charged any accommodation fees before the date you move into your contracted accommodation. You will be provided with bedding for the duration of your self-isolation and the flats will be equipped with cooking utensils, pots and pans and crockery and cutlery. We will also ensure that you receive basic supplies free of charge and can also receive food via an ordering system. This service will be provided free of charge.
What happens if my parents accompany me to the University to help me settle in?
If you come to England from one of the travel corridor countries and have booked University accommodation, you and your parents can travel to Northampton. You can move into Halls as arranged and meet with your parents whenever you wish.
All arrivals from countries which are not on the list of travel corridor countries must self-isolate. Details of arrangements for students travelling unaccompanied by parents are in the answer to Will I have to self-isolate when I arrive in the UK?
If you wish to be in the company of your parents as you settle in to the UK and start your life at UON, then you must self isolate in accordance with the UK Government guidelines.
Please note that in all cases, parents and friends travelling with you will need to book their own accommodation in the local area – they cannot be accommodated in University Halls.
Can I self-isolate, if necessary, in University accommodation and then move into my private accommodation?
No. If you do need to self-isolate when you arrive you can only do so in University accommodation if you have booked to stay in one of our Halls of Residence. If you have booked private accommodation, you must self-isolate there.
Will I have to wear a face covering?
The UK government recognises that wearing face covering can help limit the spread of the virus, so it is currently compulsory to wear a face covering on public transport, in shops, in a range of other indoor spaces including cinemas and places of worship, and in bars and restaurants whilst waiting to be seated. In keeping with the most recent government advice, you must wear a face covering in all teaching rooms, resource areas and communal spaces.
The University will be adopting the government list of circumstances where a person is exempt from wearing a face covering. Find out more on our Reunite and respond: how we have adapted after Covid-19 page.
I may not be able to arrive by the start of the programme; can I arrive late?
If you expect to arrive later than the last arrival date shown on your CAS, you must contact firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible for advice. It may be possible to provide an extension, depending on the course and your expected date of arrival.
How will I get from the airport to the University?
Regrettably, we will not be able to offer our usual Meet and Greet service. We have reluctantly taken this decision for your safety in order to give you as much time as possible to prepare. You are strongly advised to arrange a taxi or car hire as the safest means of transport to the University in advance of travelling and we will be sending out information direct to you outlining the various travel methods.
This makes it imperative that you inform us of your arrival so that appropriate preparations can be made. You should aim to arrive on Thursday 21 January for postgraduate courses and on Thursday 7 January for undergraduate courses and avoid arriving on weekends if at all possible.
We will soon send you a ‘Getting Started Guide’ which will run through the full process. If you are required to self-isolate this will place at our Bassett Lowke Halls of Residence, University of Northampton, St. George’s Avenue, Northampton, NN2 6JD.
What are the activities in welcome week and orientation week?
We are working on how sessions can be delivered prior to enrolment so you will feel part of our community and secure in your learning and teaching. Every attempt will be made to make your Welcome Week experience as engaging, active and complete as possible. We want you to get to know your tutors, make new friends and have confidence about starting your studies with us.
How will enrolment and induction happen?
Enrolment will take place online – please be sure to complete the pre-enrolment details that you will receive from us. Induction into your course will be by a combination of socially distanced face-to-face meetings an online meetings.
How do I apply for work on campus or off?
You will be able to register with the Employability Service at the University and with our dedicated Employment Agency, Unitemps.
Should I apply for University accommodation?
Our accommodation compares very favourably in price, location and range of rooms available and many international undergraduate students find that University accommodation is the best option for their first year. You should book in the usual way once you have paid your tuition fee deposit. If you start studying by synchronous study, you should still book University accommodation from the start of term and your rent will be automatically adjusted for the number of weeks you occupy your room. If you are unable to take your place due to COVID-19 restrictions you will receive a full refund of any fees paid.
If I pay my accommodation deposit and I am unable to travel to the UK, will it be refunded?
If you are unable to take your place due to COVID-19 restrictions you will receive a full
refund of any fees paid.
If I arrive after the start of term will I still have to pay in full for my accommodation?
If you are unable to arrive at the start of term due to COVID-related issues, you will only pay for the period of time that you occupy your accommodation. When you register for Accommodation you are given 2 options: Pay in full or Pay in instalments. If you know you will not be able to arrive until after the course enrolment date, choose pay in instalments, and you will only pay your deposit. Our Accommodation staff will then enter your arrival date and an invoice will be generated for the correct duration of occupation.
What will happen if the self-isolation for travellers entering the UK is still in place?
You will not have to self-isolate if you come to England from one of the travel corridor countries.
If you are arriving from, have travelled via, or have stayed in a country not on the list during the 14 days prior to arriving in England, you will have to self-isolate. This will take place in the accommodation that you have booked. Before you travel to the UK, you must complete this form with details of your travel arrangements and contact address. The UK government has provided guidance on how to go about self-isolating when you arrive.
You will not be charged any accommodation fees before the date you move into your contracted accommodation. You will be provided with bedding and essential food for the duration of your self-isolation and the flats will be equipped with cooking utensils, pots and pans and crockery and cutlery. We will also ensure that you have the ability to receive food via an ordering system. This service will be provided free of charge.
How will I get food and essential items if I am self-isolating?
If you are self-isolating, we will provide a care package, free of charge. The following items will be provided in your bedroom or flat on your arrival. They are to be used during your stay but must not be taken with you when you finish your period of isolation. Bedding and towels, Crockery and cutlery, Saucepans and ovenware, Mugs and glasses, Kitchen utensils, Rice cooker, Cleaning materials, Toiletries, Sanitary products, Toilet roll, Washing powder and fabric softner.
Basic essentials such as rice, pasta and dry goods will be provided in each kitchen and will be supplemented with items for breakfast and lunch every couple of days. A variety of evening meals will be available for you to order and will be delivered cold, for you to re-heat when you are ready. Supermarket deliveries and takeaways can also be arranged at your expense.
How would social distancing and lockdown work if I am in student accommodation and lockdown rules apply?
You should be aware that there are variations in the COVID-19 regulations across the different countries of the UK and local where it is deemed necessary to control the spread of the virus.
Details of the situation in Northampton can be found on the Northampton Borough Council website.
If I am living in private accommodation will I still need to self-isolate?
Yes. If self-isolate is still in force you will be expected to comply with the regulations.
Will I be able to live in private accommodation?
Yes, private accommodation will still be an option and we can help you find accommodation to suit your needs. Bear in mind the importance of living within easy
travelling distance of campus and read our Guidance for international students living off campus.
Your safety, the safety of our staff and visitors and the general public is our top priority and we will continue to ensure our full compliance with all government regulations and advice.
How will people go in and out of University buildings and move around once inside?
There will be a one-way system with separate entrances and exits. The doors won’t open if you try to exit the wrong way.
How will social distancing be maintained?
Furniture has been reduced and stickers on floors and furniture indicate social distancing, including in communal spaces. This will be adapted as and when the regulations change.
Will sanitiser be provided?
Yes. All students, staff and visitors will need to use the hand sanitiser on entering the building – dispensers have been fitted on the walls outside the buildings. When you enter the classroom you will again need to use the hand sanitiser and an anti-bacterial wipe to clean your desk down before settling in for the session. The lift buttons and turnstiles etc. will be regularly sprayed with an antibacterial shield to ensure they are germ free.
What about Help desks and places where we need to talk to Support Staff?
Screens have been installed at the student desk and a ticket system will be used to encourage students not to congregate around the desk whilst waiting.
Will the Library be open?
E-books are provided where possible but if that option is not available, a click and collect system has been put in place. The library team will email you with a time to come and collect your book from the campus and instructions about how to do so safely.
Will the restaurants and coffee bars be open on campus?
The Market restaurant, the Engine Shed (the Student Union snack bar) and coffee shops will be open, when the regulations allow, there will be additional outdoor furniture so students can eat, wait, relax or work in the fresh air. If stricter regulations are in force the restaurants may be offering a take-away service only.
Will it be possible to go shopping, visit other parts of the country, or visit friends or family?
Regulations are subject to change and may be legally enforceable with on-the-spot fines. You should ensure that you are familiar with the current regulations by visiting the Coronavirus section of the UK government web site.
What means of payment should I use?
It is not advisable to bring large sums of money with you in cash. The University Finance Office will not accept cash for tuition or accommodation fees and cards are the preferred means of payment in most retail outlets during the pandemic. Since you won’t be able to open your UK bank account straight away, you should bring a credit card, debit card or a pre-paid currency card to ensure you have sufficient funds to see you through the first couple of weeks at least.
Will sanitiser be available in town?
Some shops, but not all, will have sanitiser available for you to use – it is advisable to carry your own.
Will public toilets be open?
Public toilets are not currently open but you can expect toilets in supermarkets, restaurants, cafes and some shops to be in use for customers, with some controls. Toilets on campus are open and have been adapted to make social distancing easier.
Where can I find up to date advice on studying and living in the UK?