Durham University

Durham Offers Incoming Students £5,000 to Defer

Durham University sent out emails to those students who’ve accepted places this year, offering them £5,000 to defer until 2022/23. The emails read as follows:

Hi [name withheld],

We’d like to offer you a further opportunity to defer starting your studies at Durham until the academic year 2022/23. If you make a successful request to defer we will give you a payment of £5,000.

This new offer is to help us manage the number of students who want to study at Durham, having excelled in their A-levels and other level 3 qualifications this year.

We can’t guarantee all deferral requests will be successful. Places are limited, and decisions will be based on balancing the cohort.

As the email says, Durham has accepted too many students this year – not because they’ve “excelled” but because 44.8% of A-levels were awarded A*/A this year, up from 38.5% last year and 25.2% (in England) in 2019. If Durham calibrated its offers based on last year’s results, more students than anticipated will have met the requirements, hence the glut.

This follows news earlier this month that Leeds was offering law and business students £10,000 and free accommodation to defer their places.

Yet more evidence that the disruption of the last 18 months has wreaked havoc in our education system – although for once the victims of this disruption are being offered financial compensation.

Durham University Introduces Covid Status Certificates

A reader has been in touch to tell us that a Covid certification scheme has been introduced at Durham University, where her son is a first-year student. As she asks, is this even legal?

Elder son, First Year student at Durham University, returned on Sunday for summer term. He has been told he needs to do two lateral flow tests per week and must have a negative email confirmation on his phone in order to do “any university activity”. This means that if he wants to participate in the life of the university, as opposed to stay cooped up in his tiny dorm room 24/7, Covid testing is mandatory.

Is this even legal?

He was also told his term has also been extended by one week, into early July, for the “wider university experience”. (Joke.) Is this so the university can broaden its new scheme to include evidence students have been vaccinated in time for when the roll out hits 18 to 30 year-olds? Presumably, the authorities at Durham don’t care that the risks of getting vaccinated outweigh the risks of not being vaccinated for people in his age group.

This academic year he will have had zero face-to-face teaching. There has been no announcement at all about the 2021/22 academic year teaching arrangements, apart from to confirm that maximum fees will be charges, as they were this year. But of course.

I cannot understand why universities, with all their fine minds, are supporting this nonsensical testing regime. Don’t the medical professors read the data on the false positive rates for lateral flow tests? To me, universities have been complicit in damaging UK further education, as well as the health of their communities.

My poor 19 year-old son is desperate to have a more “normal” life again. He could very easily be coerced into doing almost anything to achieve that and will get vaccinated if it means he can get back to university sport and some socialising. This is the second year of woeful education for him, having had his A-levels cancelled in 2020. It fills me with despair.