consider providing grants or bursary for major technical upgrades for local, EU and international students
At times, students in courses which require computational simulations, design, graphics and more, possess a computer (Desktop or Laptop) which do not have enough processing power, RAM or VRAM in order to smoothly perform those functions. This affects the coursework of a student, irrespective of the student's status as being a local, EU or international. The Online Learning Grant does not provide much help with it, as it offers a really small amount which can only afford a chromebook or a tablet. A chromebook or a tablet can handle simple operations like MS Office, MS Teams and few others. When the student is indulging in CAD, CAE, CFD, the requirement becomes a powerful PC which comes in the form of a workstation or a gaming PC because the required configuration for the above-mentioned heavy workload operations are not available even in a business laptop. I suggest that during trying times like these, where technology is playing an important role in the smooth operations of our coursework, research and the University as a whole, the Student's Union and the University should take into consideration on designing a grant or bursary for all students (irrespective of their fee status) and the grant shall have limits of min. £500 - max. £2000. The application can be processed on the basis of the student's course, performance, use and configuration requested. The grant can be designed such that the applicant can obtain the grant only twice throughout the duration of the course.
Thank you for submitting this submission and working with me on this.
I have been in touch with the University department in charge of grants and bursaries who have provided us with this statement:
"Although we understand the challenges for students here we have consistently made the decision in consultation with SUSU to cap the funding at £200 - £250 for a laptop. This has been to ensure that we can offer support to as many students as possible and in the current academic year have supported over 2600 at a cost of more than £380,000 to access essential equipment. [We] recognise that for students studying certain courses with more practical elements this year has been at times more challenging which is why we were pleased to be able to welcome some of these students back to campus earlier to access in-person teaching and facilities.
At this point of the year we have no plans to re-open the Online Learning Grants however are reviewing spending for next year and will be responsive to changing demand if needed."
Please note that the consultations took place in January when the lockdown was still on-going, and students were unable to access campus, and accommodation for some, which put them at a great disadvantage. This led to SUSU lobbying the University to introduce further funding to the Online Learning Grant in order to support anyone who needed equipment, or financial support to go towards purchasing a laptop. While I appreciate this may not be the response you were after, I hope you can now understand why the limit was £200.
To support you with your current needs, the University offers software created to support such large systems, UoS Virtual Environment and VMware Horizon. I would encourage you to get in touch with your department to find out more about it, and your faculty officer will be able to assist you further. Your officer can be contacted here: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are experiencing any financial hardship, or would just like advice on finances, please get in touch with our Advice Centre. They will be able to provide you with resources and support. They can be contacted here: email@example.com
Thank you once again for your submission, as stated SUSU and the University recognise the challenges students have been experiencing this year and are constantly working to improve your experiences and opportunities.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to us again if you have any further questions, or submissions!
VP Education and Democracy
Thursday 22nd Apr 2021 12:00pm
- Forwarded to Vice President Education and Democracy
Friday 5th Feb 2021 10:08am
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