The University of York allocated over £160,000 to students over the summer through their COVID support funds, a York Vision freedom of information request has found.
Nearly £70,000 was given out by the Individual Student Learning Opportunity Fund, with almost £94,000 allocated through the Students Project Fund.
The Individual Student Learning Opportunity Fund invested £68,064 not spent on staff salaries during UCU (Universities and Colleges Union) strikes in 305 “goodwill” grants to pay for “further learning opportunities” for “students who experienced the most impact from the industrial action”.
Students who had lost 33-65% were eligible for up to £150, with those losing over 66% being able to claim up to £300.
Patrick O’Donnell, the President of the University of York Student Union, said:
“YUSU has lobbied the University continuously to ensure that students have the support to return safely to their studies, as well as their events and activities. I’m really pleased with the dedication and ambition of our student community to come together and support one another through a huge range of societies, networks and college events.
With new changes in terms of a national lockdown, new challenges are presented to all of us, however, we have asked the University to reopen the student hardship fund at the earliest opportunity and to try to secure additional funds to add to that as a matter of priority.”
Additionally, the Student Projects Fund allocated £93,890.44 to 20 groups which promoted accessibility, student wellbeing, creativity, contributed to the work of the University, or wanted to create physical spaces to “allow students to fulfil their potential”.
Zoë Dickenson, the Station Director of YSTV, told Vision how they have spent the £6,000 awarded to them by the University.
“We are thrilled that we have been able to secure the funding that we have through the various grants the University has made available to us, especially in light of our typical avenue of funding having fallen through this year.
“With the grants, we have been able to purchase a new set of Black Magic live studio cameras, an additional Canon C100, as well as being able to upgrade several of our editing PCs, servers, and OB units. All in all this means that we are able to continue to operate at a capacity that would not have been possible without the funding.
“We want to thank the Vice Chancellor, the University and YuFund for all their kindness. The money has enabled us to sustain our group for the future and we are incredibly grateful for the generosity we have received. However it has also highlighted wider funding issues. It is clear that student groups generally at York do not receive as much funding as often we need to be able to continue to operate sustainably, even outside of COVID times, and we hope that the University continues to help groups in dire need of funding especially in these uncertain times.”