Current students

Back to COVID-19 information

To meet the unprecedented challenges that COVID-19 brings, we have put plans in place to ensure that the University can continue key services. Everything we are doing is to protect the health of our students, staff and the wider community. We know that this may bring uncertainty and anxiety, and we want assure you that we are here to support you wherever we can.

We have put together a guide to answer some of your frequently asked questions regarding your studies, visas, exams, accommodation and placements. We will be updating this as we respond to advice from the Public Health England, Universities UK and the NHS.

We know that many of you may also be affected in your personal lives as well as your studies. If you need advice on health and emotional support, please visit our health advice page.

You can also get general support from The Hub or by contacting student@aston.ac.uk 

Social distancing in the UK

Please respect latest government advice, and:

  • only go outside for food, health reasons or work (where this absolutely cannot be done from home)
  • stay two metres (6ft) away from others
  • wash your hands as soon as you get home.

For more information, please visit gov.uk.

Do not leave home if you or someone you live with has either:

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough

For more health advice, please visit nhs.uk.

Quick menu

General study
 

What has happened to my classes?

With the exception of Conference Aston and the University Nursery, all buildings on our campus are now closed until at least the end of June.

All of your teaching will continue in a modified format online, which includes seminars, tutorials, and lab-based classes.

Your education will continue, and Aston University's high academic standards will still be maintained.

Most learning is now available via remote channels, which you can access via Blackboard.

There will be no reduction in marks for non-attendance during this period. 

Why am I still paying my tuition fees?

It has been necessary for us to cancel onsite teaching for the health and safety of all our staff and students, however, we continue to offer you the opportunity to study wherever you are, albeit in a different way.

We are also offering and increasing our online and virtual support, including one to one advice for students.

What is the University doing for me?

We are committed to providing you with everything you need to continue your studies. We will ensure that we offer you continued learning hours, individual study and pastoral support, and access to resources such as software and library information.  We are providing all of these services from a distance to our maximum capacity and for this reason, although we may not be supporting you face-to-face, the University is not closed and your teaching continues. Your tutors will be available to you by way of telephone, Skype or your preferred medium. Our Student Charter outlines our responsibilities as well as those of students.

We have redirected all academic and support staff resources to provide you with an online experience so you can complete the semester, year or your studies.

Can I study remotely?

All students have been given an ‘Authorised Absence’ record, which is your official permission to study at a distance. You should be able to access all of your materials online as normal as outlined by your School.

If you hold a Tier 4 visa, then please use the MAP engagement task to ‘Check In’ once a week so we can see you are still engaging with your studies. This will allow us to protect your visa for the UK, even if you are currently overseas.

If you are currently unable to continue with your studies for any reason, please email engagement@aston.ac.uk and we will advise you of your options.

I'm having trouble accessing the University systems. What can I do?

We are aware that in some locations overseas, students may experience technological problems in submitting alternatives to on-campus assessments. We are setting up support to help students in this position.

For technical issues or to report a lack of available equipment and/or reliable internet access, please contact Digital Services:

Self-services portal: Solve

Email: it_helpdesk@aston.ac.uk

Tel: +44 (0) 121 204 3445

Please include relevant details including programme and/or module code so that this can be communicated to programme teams.

I am worried about how my attendance will be affected if I can't attend University. What will happen?

Whilst we record attendance we have stopped using it for monitoring purposes so there is no need to be concerned that not being on campus will have a negative effect on your overall attendance.

I'm in my final year, will I still be able to complete my studies?

The University will make decisions based on your academic progress to date, and may offer you an alternative assessment to allow you to complete your studies.  

We will ensure you are given the opportunity to graduate and be awarded your degree. It is too early to make a decision on whether we will be running physical graduation ceremonies in July.

What if I need to speak to my tutor for dissertation support?

One to one supervision, dissertation and office hours can be provided by phone, Skype etc.  We are reviewing all forms of assessment to see where alternative modes of assessing student progress and achievement can be found, as necessary. 

Who can I speak to if I am concerned?

If you have any specific concerns or queries please contact student@aston.ac.uk or report via the SafeZone app.

Exams and Assessments

No detriment policy – maximising flexibility to support student success

  • All students will be awarded or progressed fairly, ensuring that they are not disadvantaged.
  • Students will not be penalised if they submit their coursework up to five working days after the deadline.
  • If you’re unable to make a submission of coursework or exams, because of your personal situation, don’t submit. Under these circumstances, wherever possible, we’ll award a qualification that reflects your academic attainment to date.
  • Students with missed results will be offered deferred assessments at a later stage for the opportunity to improve performance.

How will I do my exams?

We have made changes to the assessment timetables to take account of the COVID-19 situation, and your personal examination timetable is now available on MAP. You will find a link on your student homepage called ‘View my Examination Timetable’. This gives you the schedule of your modified examinations.

What about my assessments?

If you go to the Blackboard site for your modules, you will find details of your modified assessments, what you need to do to complete these assessments, and how to upload your submission(s) or engage with the online interactive assessment. At the moment, Schools have given you the basic arrangements. Further information will be added over the next few weeks as assessment deadlines get nearer. Please keep looking on Blackboard and check what actions you need to take.

Many assessments are time-constrained take away papers and should be completed by the date and time specified in the details on Blackboard. We have designed the assessment timings to give you enough time to complete assignments, taking into account different time zones and individual student situations. The times specified relate to UK time, so you will need to calibrate this with your own time zone if you are submitting from outside the UK.

Fixed-time assessments should be completed and submitted within the specified time window. Students should therefore ensure that they allow sufficient time to submit the work by the deadline. Owing to the timed nature of the assessment, submissions after the deadline will only be accepted in very exceptional circumstances, and students will need to make an exceptional circumstances submission.

Will this affect my marks?

Some students have raised concerns that the disruption during this academic year will have a detrimental effect on their degree attainment and progression. We wanted to make it clear that it is the University's key responsibility, after your health and wellbeing, to make sure we offer all the support and guidance we can to aid you in meeting your potential and the degree that you deserve. We will ensure that our examination boards assess you in a way which maintains academic quality and standards, but also strives to ensure that no student is disadvantaged. 

I can't submit my work on time, what can I do?

No student will be penalised if they submit their coursework up to five working days after the deadline. If you have further personal circumstances that means you are unable to submit your work, do not submit it.  

Where possible, you will be awarded a qualification that reflects your academic attainment to date.

I have more than one exam a day which is too much, what can I do?

You may have been set two exams in one day, and each exam will be no longer than the maximum time limit of three hours, however, you will be given more than three hours to take these exams and the exam boards have been asked to take this into consideration.

What does it mean if I will be awarded on partial data?

It will be different for each student depending on their programme, however it may include a combination of the following:

  • Performance in modules in the current or previous year;
  • Marks achieved in other modules;
  • Mean and standard deviation for all modules;
  • Overall performance for your entire degree to date;

All of these factors will be considered to agree an overall picture of your studies and to offer you the most favourable result possible.

I do not want to be assessed on partial data, what can I do?

If you would like to take your exams and assessments and you are fit to study, then you should continue to submit your work and attempt your exams as normal.

If you would like to take your exams and assessments but you are not fit to study and have some exceptional personal circumstances, then please do not submit your work or sit your exam. You will be given the opportunity to take the exams and assessments at a later date if you choose to do so, without any penalties.

I have to take my exams as my degree has professional accreditation, what can I do?

If you need to take an exam in order to receive accreditation by a particular regulating body, and you are currently unable to do this, you will be given the opportunity to take the exam or assessment at a later date without any penalties.

I have exceptional circumstances. What do I need to do?

It is not possible for us to list all of the exceptional circumstances as every situation is taken on its own individual merits, however, here are some examples of what may be considered:

  • In quarantine due to the Coronavirus
  • Unwell with symptoms of the Coronavirus
  • Unwell with a medical condition unrelated to the Coronavirus
  • Poor mental health and wellbeing
  • Caring for family or relatives, including increased childcare responsibilities
  • Unable to study in lockdown location
  • Technical issues which prevents normal study activities

This list is not exhaustive and does not guarantee that your exceptional circumstances will be considered.

For details of how to make an exceptional circumstances submission, see the Guide to Exceptional Circumstances.

How do I submit my alternative assessments?

For written assessments, all work is to be uploaded, as explained in the assessment instructions, on Blackboard. For other assessments (for example, interactive assessments conducted over the internet), details will be provided by the relevant module staff in advance of the assessment taking place. In all cases, it is important that you familiarise yourself with the assessment methodology and assessment criteria in advance of any submission or online interactive assessments.

Further information and advice for students about completing assessments online available via the TLC web pages. Additional information will be published here to address any emerging queries.

I'm having trouble accessing the University systems. What can I do?

We are aware that on some occasions, students may experience technological problems in submitting alternatives to on-campus assessments. We are setting up support to help students in this position.

For technical issues or to report a lack of available equipment and/or reliable internet access, please contact Digital Services:

Self-services portal: Solve

Email: it_helpdesk@aston.ac.uk

Tel: +44 (0) 121 204 3445

Please include relevant details including programme and/or module code so that this can be communicated to programme teams.

I don't feel I have my best in my assessment as I am not very well. What should I do?

If you choose to submit an assessment for grading (either coursework or examination alternative), you will have deemed yourself fit and equipped to take the assessment. You are also agreeing to accept the outcome of your assessment as valid. We will also consider this a valid attempt.

If, for whatever reason, you believe that you are not fit and able to take an assessment, then please do not submit. We will automatically, and without penalty, defer your attempt to the next assessment opportunity. An exceptional circumstances form is not required. If you are deferred in an assessment due to your inability to take it, the deferred assessment may or may not take the same format. 

My coursework is due, but I am unwell. What can I do?

Students will not be penalised if they submit their coursework up to five working days after the deadline. If you are unable to make a submission of coursework or exams, because of your personal situation, don’t submit. Under these circumstances, wherever possible, we’ll award a qualification that reflects your academic attainment to date. Students with deferred results will be offered deferred assessments at a later stage for the opportunity to improve performance.

Late submissions: Coursework submissions made after the automatic five-day extension period can still be made, but standard lateness penalties may apply. If students have a valid reason for submitting coursework late they should speak to their School about making an exceptional circumstances submission to an ECAP.

I am worried about how my attendance will be affected if I can't attend university. What will happen?

Whilst we record attendance we have stopped using it for monitoring purposes so there is no need to be concerned that not being on campus will have a negative effect on your overall attendance.

I'm in my final year, will I still be able to complete my studies?

The University will make decisions based on your academic progress to date, and may offer you an alternative assessment to allow you to complete your studies.  

We will ensure you are given the opportunity to graduate and be awarded your degree. It is too early to make a decision on whether we will be running physical graduation ceremonies in July.

What if I need to speak to my tutor for dissertation support?

One to one supervision, dissertation and office hours can be provided by phone, skype etc.  We are reviewing all forms of assessment to see where alternative modes of assessing student progress and achievement can be found, as necessary. 

Will this have an impact on graduation ceremonies?

The decision has been taken to cancel April graduation ceremonies and our graduands affected by this decision have been informed. We continue to monitor the PHE advice and a decision about July graduation ceremonies will be made at a later stage.

Who can I speak to if I am concerned?

If anyone has any specific concerns or queries please contact student@aston.ac.uk or report via the SafeZone app.

I am studying on a course which is accredited or recognised by professional, statutory or regulatory bodies, how will my assessment be affected?

Some of our students are enrolled on programmes which are accredited by professional, statutory or regulatory bodies (PSRBs). We are talking to all these bodies.

  • Students on these programmes need to demonstrate they have met fully all the learning outcomes for their qualification for it to be recognised by the relevant PSRB.
  • For students on these programmes it may, therefore, not be possible to award qualifications or progress students on partial marks.
  • Students who are missing required assessment marks who were unable to engage with any assessments over the forthcoming assessment period will be deferred to the next available opportunity.

PSRB requirements differ by programme, so Schools will provide specific details as to how this will affect individual students.

 

Accommodation

I have vacated the Unite residence, do I still have to pay?

Unite has now published a statement which explains what to do. 

If you do not plan to continue staying in your Unite home for your third university term (from after Easter), please let Unite know by Friday 10 April by emailing cancellations@unitestudents.com.

 

Unite will assume you are staying with them through to the end of your tenancy if they do not hear from you by 5pm on Friday 10 April.

 

I live in private halls or a shared house, do I still have to pay?

If you need help and support with your rent contracts for other providers, please contact the Advice and Representation Centre in the Students’ Union.

Placement

I am an undergraduate student on placement, who do I need to speak to if I have concerns?

If you are an Undergraduate student on Placement and have concerns please contact the On-Placement Support Team.

Ensure you are following the advice of your University (if on a study placement), your employer and local authority regarding how to maintain good hygiene.

Download the SafeZone app so we can 'check in' with you at your placement location. You can find more about SafeZone here.

In order to best support you, update your current address and contact number details on MAP so we know your location if you have moved from your known placement location.

Check your university email on a regular basis for advice and guidance.

Please contact Erasmus for any related questions.

I am a student with a compulsory placement in the NHS (clinical setting). How does coronavirus affect me?

We are aware of a number of containment measures being implemented by our partner NHS Trusts. These measures may vary between Trusts and different clinical settings/ placement types for students who have travelled and returned to the UK from the following areas: China, Thailand, Japan, Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Macau, Cambodia, Vietnam, Italy and Iran. If you have travelled and returned from any of these areas in the last 14 days you should immediately seek advice from your Placements Tutor or your School. They will seek further information from the Trust or placement setting about additional precautions that may be required before returning to clinical premises. You may require a period of self-isolation.

I've been told to self-isolate and have a compulsory clinical placement, how will this affect my studies?

If you have been told to self-isolate then you need to contact your Placements Tutor or your School immediately so that we can look into how this may affect your studies.

I have a compulsory clinical placement and want to know if I can travel abroad to go home or for other reasons?

The University has restricted all travel for staff and students for university business. If you wish to travel to any of the affected areas, for personal reasons, this will be your own decision. You may find that there are restrictions in place when returning to the UK and also the possibility that there will be restrictions on outbound travel. These restrictions may mean that you need to self-isolate for a period of 14 days on your return to the UK even if you have no symptoms. Speak to your Placements Tutor or your School about how this may impact your compulsory clinical placement prior to booking any travel.

Will my Erasmus placement grant be affected if my international placement pauses or ceases?

Given the recent updates with COVID-19, we appreciate many of you are altering your placement plans to adapt to the ever-changing situation. Each case must be assessed individually, therefore it is vital you email the Erasmus+ team as soon as you can to outline your circumstances. As you can appreciate this situation is unprecedented, however rest assured your safety is Aston’s priority, and we aim to minimise any possible impact on your Erasmus+ grant. We are aware that there may be delays in returning paperwork whilst you make plans and prioritise your safety- this is perfectly fine, however please ensure you email the team to confirm your location as soon as possible.

Please note during this period the Erasmus+ Team can only be contacted via email due to remote working. They aim to respond within 2-5 working days and appreciate your patience. If you have any questions at all contact erasmus@aston.ac.uk.

 

 

International

 

How can I access the University systems remotely when I am from overseas?

We are currently testing our systems in various countries to ensure we have optimised their performance as much as possible. Whilst access to some platforms may be limited, we are working on providing the best options we can. Should you have any particular issues then please let us know so we can investigate alternative solutions where possible.

For more details, please visit our Solve portal.

I feel unsafe and threatened on campus, what can I do?

The University does not tolerate hate crime in any form, and is here to protect and support you. If you feel that you want to wear a face mask please do continue to do so. If you experience any bad feelings on the campus, then please report this immediately by emailing security@aston.ac.uk or via telephone: 0121 204 4803 or direct 24 hour line 0121 359 2922

Tier 4 Visa Engagement

We have a responsibility to the Home Office to monitor engagement with your studies whilst we are sponsoring your visa.

During these uncertain times we understand that you may want to return home. Please be aware of the quarantine requirements in different countries and any restrictions in place that may prevent you from returning to the UK. If you decide to leave the UK, please let us know as soon as possible so that we can protect your visa.

All students have been given an offcial 'Authorised Absence' to study at a distance, and we will continue to monitor your engagement with your studies to protect your visa.

Wherever you are, please ensure that you use the brand new task in MAP once a week which will act as your virtual 'Check In'.

As long as you have informed us of your location and you are accessing university systems regularly we will continue to sponsor your visa until you return back to our campus. the 60 day absence rule does not currently apply, so please do not worry. We will inform you of when you are required to return to campus based studies.

Who can I speak to if I am concerned or have a question?

For assessment: student@aston.ac.uk | For visa and absences: engagement@aston.ac.uk

For general queries: student@aston.ac.uk | For health and safety concerns: safety@aston.ac.uk

I am an Exchange student and my University is asking me to return home?

In addition to the standard requirements listed under these pages, please make sure you contact your Home University to let them know about your travel plans.

Will this have an impact on graduation ceremonies?

The decision has been taken to cancel April graduation ceremonies and our graduands affected by this decision have been informed. We continue to monitor the PHE advice and a decision about July graduation ceremonies will be made at a later stage. Further information will be posted on our website here when we know more.