Coronavirus – information and advice

Page updated 16/07/2020

Return to Campus

We’re delighted to be moving forward with plans to once again welcome students onto our campuses and into our studios and workshops.

Following the closure of our campuses in March, we’re now in the process of beginning a phased reopening, which is being done in accordance with government guidelines. We are contacting affected students and staff directly, as facilities are made available to them.

We are currently planning for the full reopening of campuses ready for the new Academic Year in the Autumn, and full details on term dates and teaching principles can be found on our UCA 2020 webpage.

We’re aware that students, colleagues and parents may have questions about the current situation regarding COVID-19 and the University’s position, and we’ve updated our below FAQs to help.

You can also view our document Return to Campus - What to Expect (PDF)


  • When will I be able to attend UCA?

    Term start dates have now been finalised and you can view these, and our revised teaching principles in light of COVID-19, on our UCA 2020 webpage.

    We have begun a phased reopening and students will be informed as and when our facilities are available for their use.

  • What is UCA doing to keep me safe?

    Please visit our UCA 2020 webpage for our initial plans and teaching principles. You’ll receive full details on what UCA will be doing generally, and how those policies affect your course in the coming months (but definitely before you arrive on campus).

    In line with government guidance there will be social distancing measures across all campuses, including one-way systems and classroom “traffic flow” systems. There will also be increased cleaning and washing and hand sanitizing stations at various locations.

  • Do I have to wear a mask or face covering?

    In line with government guidance and, taking into account the measures UCA has put in place to facilitate social distancing, we recommend that you wear face coverings when you are on campus. However - this is not mandatory, unless it has been specifically identified through a risk assessment.

  • What should I do if I contract COVID-19 or I’ve been asked to self-isolate through the track and trace system?

    You should follow the instructions set by government and we advise you regularly familiarise yourself with these instructions as they are subject to change.

    In accordance with the university's guidelines for suspected cases of COVID-19, if you are on campus and begin to feel unwell with symptoms listed by government, leave immediately and return to your home to begin self-isolating.

    Whether you are unwell or have been asked to self-isolate through track and trace, you should also let your lecturer or programme director know what is happening straight away, so your absence can be properly logged.

  • What can I do to help prevent the spread of the virus while on campus?

    Please familiarise yourself with the guidance from government and be sure to check regularly - guidance will change in line with this very fluid situation.

    While on campus, we ask you to

    Please adhere to social distancing measures (e.g one-way systems, keeping distance from others as far as possible) while on campus.

    We recommend you wear a mask or face covering on campus, – however we respect the choice of individuals who choose not to.

    Wear a mask/PPE when it’s been identified as required to do so for a specific work activity or task.

    Use hand sanitizer (with a minimum of 80% alcohol) often, and wash your hands for 20 seconds regularly. Bring a personal supply

    If you do need to cough or sneeze, please do so into a strong tissue (and put in the bin immediately) or into the crook of your elbow (and wash whatever you’re wearing as soon as you possibly can).

    Respect everyone around you – some students will be very anxious about being in open spaces with other students, other students may have medical conditions which put them at risk.

    Bring a personal supply of antibacterial wipes for cleaning equipment before/ after use.

  • What, on campus, will be open?

    We are currently planning on opening up as much as we can – however food and beverage outlets will remain closed until further notice. Cashless vending machines will be available.

    There will be no public access – for exhibitions and events, for example – until the end of 2020.

    We currently hope to be able to reopen our art shops in September (at the earliest), and the Craft Study Centre at UCA Farnham is aiming for a late September opening (at the earliest).

  • What will teaching look like?

    We are hopeful to have as much teaching as possible on-site, although some online provision may be incorporated into the timetable where it’s needed.

    Classes will have a new look and feel – among the measures in place are extra time between classes for the safe movement of students and staff and to prevent queueing, using traffic flow systems in class and larger spaces to accommodate social distancing measures, and opening windows to ensure proper ventilation.

  • I’m a student who is now out of work and struggling financially, can UCA help?

    The University does have hardship funds available to support you, if you are unable to work due to COVID-19 and are experiencing financial difficulties, such as an inability to pay rent or afford ongoing living expenses.

    The Financial Assistance Fund is open to any Home student studying a BA or MA degree and who has taken advantage of the full range of financial support available to them. (e.g. government loans).

    Any Home student can apply but you will be considered a priority if

    You have children (especially lone parents).

    You’re a mature student especially those with existing financial commitments, including priority debt.

    You’re a student from a minority ethnic group.

    You’re a disabled student.

    You’re a care leaver or young carer.

    You’re in supported housing or are homeless.

    You’re receiving the final loan rate and in financial difficulty.

    You're estranged from your family but have not been accepted as an independent student by SFE

    To apply, please complete the Financial Assistance Fund form (PDF).

    As part of your application, you will need to submit supporting financial evidence to support your claim of hardship due to the change in your work and personal circumstances.

    This evidence can include, but is not limited to

    Three months bank statements.

    Proof of rent (such as a tenancy agreement).

    Proof of any income.

    Proof of any change of circumstances.

    If you feel that you will need some financial help in the coming weeks or have questions about the application process, please contact your campus Specialist Adviser

    Canterbury -
    Epsom -
    Farnham -
    Rochester -

    If you are one of our pre-degree students, there is financial support for you too.

  • What external support and advice is there for students due to the pandemic?

    If you have general questions about being a new student and starting university during these unprecedented times, the government has specific advice and help for prospective students.

    There’s also guidance for current students.

    If you have work outside of your studies, you will have heard of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, more commonly known as the Furlough Scheme.

  • What is being put in place by UCA to support student mental health?

    Our counselling service continues to work online with students suffering with mental health issues – if you wish to receive support or just want to find out more, visit our Counselling Services webpage, where you can fill out a form to apply for help if you feel you need it.

  • Can I get a refund on tuition fees?

    Following advice from the Government and Public Health England, in accordance with the Coronavirus Act 2020, and with protection of the health and wellbeing of all our students and staff during the Covid-19 pandemic uppermost in our thinking, the University closed its campuses and moved all teaching online from March 23.

    Our terms and conditions of enrolment permit us to make changes course delivery to abide by changes in the law and other regulatory requirements or guidance. While the present need to take these steps is beyond our reasonable control, the University is nonetheless committed to taking all reasonable steps to mitigate the impact on our students.

    We have done this primarily by

    Moving learning and assessment online.

    Looking at prior activity with a view to ensuring that learning outcomes are covered somewhere within the year of study and adjusting assessment tasks accordingly.

    Providing alternative assessment where the original assessment is not deliverable.

    Providing extensions for units where necessary for the learning and for individual students if their circumstances require it.

    Where the University is not the awarding body, following the validators’ exacting requirements for predicted and other grades so that students receive a final outcome commensurate with effort and aptitude.

    All actions that we have taken have been done on the basis that the Covid-19 pandemic does not impact negatively on your results and that the quality of your degree is protected.

    Our aim is to reopen facilities as soon as we can and work is underway to prepare for the return of our students in the Autumn, when we intend to deliver as much teaching as possible on campus in line with public health advice.

    You can find more information about the principles underpinning our approach on our UCA 2020 webpage and we will be writing to you soon to provide you with the details of how we will be delivering your course when you return.

    We fully appreciate how difficult the current circumstances are for our students. We will continue to listen to your feedback and work with you to adapt our course delivery safely and responsively, attentive to the needs of students who are particularly vulnerable.

    If you are not satisfied with our response to the Covid-19 pandemic or to your concerns about how it will affect you personally, you may complain using our Complaints Procedure (PDF). We will do our utmost to resolve your complaint within the bounds of what is possible at the time. The usual range of remedies will be available for any complaints that are found justified.

    Finally, we want to remind you that we are committed to protecting your health and wellbeing as well as your academic progress and achievement, and we welcome your support and partnership in this unanticipated and challenging time.

  • What about accommodation? How will I be safe?

    We are currently looking into how best to protect our students within our accommodation blocks – if you’ve applied for accommodation we will be in touch with further details on this in the coming weeks.

  • I have loaned items which I need to return to UCA, what shall I do?

    An automatic extension of current and new loans in the library, and to loans of equipment from the Media Stores, are in place. We are currently updating the system to make the necessary changes so if you get any notifications to return items in the meantime these can be ignored - there is no need to return any items even if asked to do so until Monday 28 September.

  • I was supposed to be doing a student exchange this Autumn, will this go ahead?

    Due to current travel restrictions and the uncertainty about when these restrictions may be lifted, we have decided to postpone all incoming and outgoing autumn student exchanges to January 2021 so that students can enjoy and reap all the benefits of their study abroad experience.

    Incoming Exchange

    If you wish to join us in January 2021, please discuss your options with your university’s study abroad office. You will need to review our course catalogue again and inform us of your chosen units.

    The application deadline to study at UCA in the spring term (starting January 2021) is 15 October 2020. Please visit our Study Abroad course catalogue (once updated in June) to find the application links for the courses and units that are currently available to incoming study abroad students for the 2020-2021 academic year:

    Please contact for more information.

    Outgoing Exchange

    If you still wish to take part in the study abroad programme in January 2021, please discuss this with your Programme Director. You will need to review the host university’s course offer again and discuss the units you intend to study with your Programme Director, paying attention to the number of credits you will need to achieve while abroad (30 ECTS – equivalent to 60 UCA credits).

    If in the light of these news you intend to cancel your study abroad in January 2021, you must inform us by emailing so that we can continue to support you with your studies here at UCA. Meanwhile, we strongly advise you not to make any financial commitments in regards to travel and accommodation arrangements.

  • What about my international year?

    While we are hoping you will still be able to undertake your International Year, it’s important to note the many travel restrictions which are still in place across the Globe. While some countries are accepting visitors from overseas, others still have closed borders or significant quarantining measures in place.

    We would advise you monitor the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website for updates on what is currently safe – be aware the situation is fluid, and while a country’s borders may be open now, they may close again in the event of a spike in cases.

    With this information in mind we strongly advice you not to make any financial commitments in regard to travel and accommodation arrangements until it’s absolutely certain your trip can be fulfilled.

    However, in the event there are still travel restrictions by September 2020 you will have to cancel your international year plans. You will not be able to defer this as the international year has been built into the course structure for Year 2 students. If this happens, you will move straight into your final year of study at UCA this Autumn.

    If you wish to cancel you international year before September, you must notify us by emailing

  • Are Open Days still going ahead?

    In light of the COVID-19 crisis, we’ve had to suspend our Open Days for the foreseeable future. However, we've created a Virtual Open Day experience for you online. 

  • What about Clearing?

    For information about our Clearing this year, please visit our Clearing webpage.

  • I was really looking forward to Student Union activities, like Freshers’ Week, is anything planned?

    Our Students’ Union is working hard to provide you with the activities you come to expect when you join university – please follow @ucasu on twitter and Instagram, and check our Student Union website for the latest updates.

  • Will UCA be cancelling any study trips?

    We expect to able to run study trips in the future – domestically and, hopefully, abroad, too. However, all trips will be subject to whatever COVID-19 related restrictions are in place at that time. This is a fluid situation and we will have to respond accordingly when required.