Will universities open in September 2020? If colleges and universities are returning in the autumn - and blended learning explained
With new coronavirus cases being diagnosed each day across the UK, and certain lockdown restrictions and measures still in place, will universities in Scotland open as usual in September?
Universities in Scotland, and more widely in the UK, will open this year, with many discussing and planning ways in which they can continue to work in regards to keeping both staff and students safe as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
Some may choose to do virtual learning, stick with in person teaching, or do a mixture of both.
A Universities UK survey revealed that 89 of the 92 institutions which replied (out of 137 UK universities) will provide some in-person teaching next term.
A total of 97 per cent of universities surveyed confirmed that they will provide in-person teaching at the start of term this year. Furthermore, 78 universities (87 per cent), also stated that they will offer in-person social opportunities to students, including outside events and sporting activities - all in line with government and public health guidance.
However, some universities will provide a so-called "blended approach" to teaching, with many announcing that the majority, if not all, of lectures will instead be given online.
Each university is taking a different approach depending on what is best for them, their staff and students, so you will need to contact individual universities or check their websites in order to find out more information.
Exam results controversy
Scottish students received their exam results a week prior to those in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, with 125,000 estimated results being downgraded. However, tens of thousands of school pupils then had their results upgraded, after the Scottish government agreed to accept teacher estimates of scores instead.
Results for A level and vocational students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland were published on Thursday 13 August. However, around 40 per cent of A level results were downgraded after the exams regulator, Ofqual, used an algorithm based on schools' previous results to award grades - leaving many students unhappy with their results.
Students across the UK were unable to sit their exams this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Can I cancel my university place?
If you decide not to go to university this year, or don’t want to go at all anymore, then you can cancel your place without any charge.
Some universities may allow you to do so online, but some may require you to phone and ask for them to withdraw your application.
Can I defer if I want to?
Alternatively, if you still want to go to the same university for the same course, but would like to do so next year instead, you may be able to defer your place. However, universities take varied approaches to deferring.
UCAS explains that those wishing to defer their place after they have received their exam results or after their place has been confirmed must contact the university or college directly.
UCAS explains, “Some course providers may not allow deferral for some courses at this point in the application cycle. You will be asked to give reasons for your late decision to defer. Your request will be considered, but there is no guarantee that it will be accepted, and you may be asked to reapply.”
It’s also worth noting that, once you have deferred your place, you will not be able to revert back to your original year of entry. Be sure of your decision before you contact the university or college.
How much will tuition fees cost this year?
Scottish students don’t pay any tuition fees for attending a university in Scotland.
University students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will still have to pay full tuition fees this year, even if their courses are to be taught online instead of in person.
The maximum UK university tuition fee is £9,250 a year, which is covered by a student loan.
In Northern Ireland, students can be charged up to £4,395 a year in tuition fees at universities in Northern Ireland.