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Applying to university

Coronavirus updates for university applications 2020

Advice on 2020 exam results, appeals and student finance during the coronavirus situation.

University of Bath campus


  1. Latest advice about your calculated grades

  2. Appealing your exam results
  3. Starting university in September

  4. Deferring university

  5. Student finance and loans

  6. Links to official announcements

  7. How the Complete University Guide can help

Updated Thursday 3 September

Latest advice about your calculated grades

Now students have been awarded their original teacher-assessed grades, and universities are responding to students.

If you’re still in Clearing:

  • Continue researching Clearing courses and universities 
  • Make your application
  • Clearing officially ends on 20 October 2020

If you now meet your original offer: 

  • Speak to the university to confirm your place
  • Remember, your offers will not automatically change in Track

If you’re holding an offer or want to change your mind: 

  • Before you turn down your current offer, you must find an alternative
  • Research what’s available using Clearing course search
  • Contact your preferred university 
  • Once an offer has been made by another university, you must ask your existing university to release you
  • Add your new choice in Track to accept

If you already have a place at university:

  • You don’t need to do anything but get ready to go
  • Check our information on student finance further down this page

Appealing your exam results

Scottish students had their results upgraded to the original scores estimate by teachers. England, Wales and Northern Ireland students have been awarded the higher grade out of their moderated grade and their teacher-assessed grade.

If you feel there may have been a mistake with your grade, you may want to appeal – your school or centre will need to do this on your behalf. The deadline for A Level appeals is 17 September 2020. 

You can also speak to your university about your position. Universities have been told to keep places open until the process is complete, allowing students to get their places.

Alternatively, you can apply to resit your A Levels this autumn. You must have applied by 4 September, and the exams will be in October. There are no autumn resits in Scotland.

Read more about appeals here: 

Starting university in September

Universities in the UK have begun to indicate their plans for students arriving or returning in September or October. All unis will, if they haven't already, let all offer holders know of their plans. 

Most universities have mentioned they will be approaching Semester One with a blended teaching model, with large classes and lectures staying online and other smaller and more manageable groups returning to face-to-face. 

Read our What will university look like this year? page for more information.

Deferring university

It may be tempting to defer starting university in the autumn due to the current pandemic, but make sure you think about every aspect and what deferring your university place will actually mean. If you are a student from the EU, deferring your place to start in 2021–22 will mean you are no longer eligible for ‘home’ fee status or financial support. 

Read more information on the pros and cons of deferring on our dedicated page. 

Student finance and loans

You can still apply for a student loan if you're considering going to university this year (academic year 2020–21). Student finance applications are being processed as quickly as possible. Student Finance contact centres are open again in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Scottish students can submit enquiries to the Student Awards Agency Scotland via their online SAAS account.

Guidance has been published for prospective and existing students by the UK Government, and FAQs on covid-19 and student finance from a number of student finance bodies. See the appropriate links at the foot of this section.

If your course is starting later than normal, you’ll receive your student loan after you are registered on the course. 

If your course would normally be taught ‘in person’ but has to start (or move) online, it will not affect the tuition fee charged. However, it’s vital to engage with the course so that you are considered ‘registered’ and attending – it’s only after registration that you’ll get your student finance paid.

If you move back to your parents’ home, and this ends up being for the majority of the term, your maintenance loan could be reassessed at the ‘home’ rate for the entire term. This will not affect students from Scotland, whose living cost loans aren’t based on location.

If your household income has dropped since April 2020 as a result of Covid-19, you may be able to get a ‘current year income’ assessment but you’ll still need to provide details for the previous tax year for comparison. In England and Wales, a reassessment will be carried out if your income has dropped by 15%, Northern Ireland by 5%, and Scotland if it’s moved into a different income bracket. Check the rules for your nation’s student finance body for details: Student Finance England, Student Finance Wales, Student Finance Northern Ireland, Student Awards Agency Scotland.

If you’re an EU student who can’t travel to the UK because of Covid-19 restrictions, it’s likely to be considered as a temporary absence from the UK by Student Finance. However, if you’re due to get postgraduate funding paid to you (e.g. from Student Finance England or Wales), you’ll need to have a UK bank account. In either case you’ll be expected to travel to the UK to attend your course as soon as it is safe to do so.

If you’re applying for Disabled Students’ Allowances, you should be able to submit your application by email, post or online (depending on your student finance body). If you require an assessment to be carried out, a remote assessment or ‘evaluation of need’ may currently be accepted (completed up to 31 August by Student Finance Wales, or to 31 December by Student Finance England). Scotland has also confirmed that telephone and Skype assessments can be accepted for needs assessments.

If you miss part of your course due to Covid-19, you must let your institution know if you are unwell, shielding or self-isolating. From a student finance point of view, it’s unlikely to affect any payments you are due – unless you miss more than 60 days. At that point your case would be reassessed.

Read about university tuition fees and the financial support available

Links to official announcements

How the Complete University Guide can help

Have a question? Ask us on social media or get in touch with our experts at ask@thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk.

In the meantime, our advice about choosing a course and a university is unchanged: find the right course and the right institution for you.

  1. Continue To Explore...
  2. Clearing Landing page

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