Cost of living crisis: Announcement of new support for students and staff
A video message to the Queen's community from our President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ian Greer, and QUBSU President Emma Murphy, setting out new support for students and staff in response to the cost of living crisis.
Cost of living website
President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Greer:
The cost of living crisis is already having a significant impact on our students and our staff.
So last week, the University pulled together a team to develop a series of measures to help support staff through this challenging time.
We established a joint working group consisting of staff, students and trade union representatives from across the University. They developed the first phase of support, which the Senate approved on Tuesday, and which I am pleased to announce today.
Regarding student support, the Department for the Economy have increased their allocation to £2.7 million to support students for this academic year. In addition, Queen’s will allocate a new funding package of just under £5.7 million.
We will increase the value of the institutional bursary. This will take the form of a one-off cost of living payment of £400. This will benefit 3,600 students at Queen's who come from families with an income of under approximately £25,000 per annum.
We will also give all other students – both undergraduate and postgraduate – a one-off payment of £150.
In addition, this package will include an allocation of £600,000 which will focus on supporting our international students, who are not eligible for an award from the Department for the Economy funds.
After listening to students about accessing the schemes, we’ve streamlined the application process for our student support funds to ensure that students get access to funding quicker.
These payments will be made in January 2023.
Additionally, we will waive all Graduation fees for December 2022 and Summer 2023 – currently at £47 – for this academic year only. This new intervention will cost the University £250,000. However, a student will still have the option to attend a graduation garden party at a cost of £10 per person, if they so choose.
We will also waive all student library fines for this academic year and reduce the cost of Off Campus Discipline fines by 50%.
All of this information can be found on our website: https://www.qub.ac.uk/.
For staff support, we will allocate a new staff cost of living payment. This comes on top of an additional £1,000 Covid thank you payment already issued to all staff during the summer. This payment will be focused on those who will be most impacted by the current crisis. In January 2023, staff in Grades 1-5 or equivalent will receive £750. Staff in Grades 5-9 will receive £500. Staff at Grade 10 and senior management level will not receive a payment.
We will also establish an interest-free financial assistance scheme for staff. This will allow them to borrow up to £2,400 to create some financial flexibility during the crisis if needed.
These new interventions are in addition to our current subsidised approach to staff membership of Physical Education Centre and our Childcare provision.
This package will have a significant impact on the University’s financial outlook for this academic year. However, the University leadership, and our Senate, our governing body, have decided that we had to move quickly to prioritise and support our students and staff during the current crisis.
Over the next few months, the Cost of Living Workgroup will continue to develop additional proposals to support students and staff.
I am grateful to everyone for their swift teamwork in developing this vital response to this emerging crisis which will allow Queen’s to support those in most need.
Thank you for your continued support.
QUBSU President Emma Murphy:
As President of the Students’ Union, we really welcome the additional supports that the University are putting in place to support the cost of living crisis that will inevitably impact students.
We are delighted that the measures put in place will support all students, whether they’re home, international, undergraduate or postgraduate.
This will come at a good time for students – in January, when students will need it most and really feel the effects of the ongoing crisis.
This has come from a strong partnership approach and lobbying efforts from the Students’ Union on behalf of students, and we really do welcome the supports that are being put in place. The conversation needs to keep going, and more tangible supports will be put in place, but we are delighted to be announcing this today.