Fees for St Andrews University halls of residence will be refunded after students were ordered to stay at home.
The university confirmed all fees paid from January 25 onwards will be returned, after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said in-person teaching will not return until March at the earliest.
Exceptions have been made for medical students and those on courses where remote learning is not possible.
Confirmation of the refund was made following an announcement to students by St Andrews University principal Professor Sally Mapstone.
She advised students to stay away from campus but said support will be given to those who have to be there.
“Our semester will begin as planned on January 25, but in line with government instructions, all teaching must be remotely online,” said Professor Mapstone.
“For students, this means that if you are not a medic, you should remain at home and should not make plans to travel back to St Andrews until we confirm that in-person teaching is due to resume on your course.
“Although the Scottish Government has said it will be at least March before students are allowed to return to university campuses, we think it is prudent to advise you that it may be even later than that before in-person teaching is permitted to resume.
“Students should also be aware that travelling back to university during lockdown simply to take up your place in term-time accommodation is no longer permitted under the new Government restrictions, unless in-person teaching is about to resume on your course.
“If you are already here or en route to St Andrews you do not have to change your plans. We will do our best to look after you.”
An information document alongside the announcement confirmed halls of residence fees will be refunded from the start of the term until students are permitted to return.
“If you have a place in one of our halls of residence, we will pay back your rent for the period in which you are not in residence after January25 up until the point at which in-person teaching resumes on your course,” it said.
“We will contact you with details of how you can be paid back due course.
“If you live in private accommodation, you may ask your landlord for a refund on the basis that the Scottish Government has requested that you delay your return to university and therefore cannot occupy your accommodation for a specified time.
“The university, however, has no powers to compel private landlords to offer a refund.”
Dan Marshall, president of St Andrews Students’ Association, welcomed the news and called on the Scottish Government to support those in private accommodation.
Great to see @univofstandrews agree to refund all rent for the entire period students are asked to stay at home for those in halls! 🥳
— Dan Marshall, Association President (@StAPresident) January 8, 2021
He said: “Great to see St Andrews University agree to refund all rent for the entire period students are asked to stay at home for those in halls.”Now we need the Scottish Government to step in to support private renters and those in private halls.”
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