Bursary email ‘delays’ leave students confused

Several students have complained after emails informing them whether they had qualified for the York Bursary were sent unexpectedly late.

Photo Credit: Nouse

Photo Credit: Nouse

The University usually notifies students via email that they have qualified for the York Bursary in late September, before the start of each new academic year.
However, this year, many students were not notified that they would be receiving the York Bursary until the end of Week Two.

Furthermore, students who contacted the University’s Student Financial Support Unit after receiving no communication about the delay were unable to get any clear information or explanation from the University or Student Financial Support when they asked.

A third-year English student said: “It seemed to happen to most people and it was unclear whether we would be receiving all, half or none of the bursary.

“Mostly I found out through rumour and second-hand knowledge. I was very worried, especially at this time of year after paying rent, that I would be broke and not be able to afford food, let alone books and other necessities for my course!”

A third-year History student also said the delay and the subsequent lack of information and communication had been a worrying experience, saying: “As a student I identify strongly with the feeling of worrying about finances.

“The bursary is very important in terms of budgeting concerns, like paying increasingly expensive rent, and so the inability of the University to promptly confirm receipt at the start of term as they have done in previous years heightened these financial anxieties significantly.”

The student said that when she emailed to ask for more information, the University was “slow” to respond.

She went on to say that when she did receive a reply, it was ”generic and unhelpful” and that the University refused to confirm or deny anything, leaving her feeling “in the dark”.
The York Bursary is, depending on when students started at the University, worth between £500 and £3,000 paid to UK and EU students with a low residual household.

All York Bursary payments to first year students are accommodation bursaries and not paid directly to the students. There is also an additional household income band of £15,000-£25,000, with first year students who qualify getting an accommodation bursary of £3,000.

A spokesperson from the University of York told Nouse: “It has taken us longer than in previous years to approve the York Bursaries because we have four different versions of the bursary scheme to process (pre-2012, 2012/13, 2013/14 and 2014/15). The number of awards has increased (we are dealing with 3,000 bursary awards this year) and each award is individually assessed and recorded. Despite this, we have processed the bursaries within our mid-October target.”

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