Birkbeck, University of London
During lockdown Birkbeck, University of London received increased applications for their Hardship, Crisis and Needs-Based funds which cover emergency costs and longer-term financial support.
A survey found that 632 students were studying via their mobile phones and those with dyslexia and disabilities were finding it especially challenging to shift to online learning. Via a means-tested scheme Birkbeck provided laptops and suitable internet connections for as many of these students as possible.
Many students have significant digital anxiety and are not confident interacting online, particularly in a “classroom” environment. Birkbeck hope to help to increase digital literacy, skills and confidence of students and help them navigate online environments successfully.
There’s also been a significant increase in counselling and mental health support requirements from students, including a rise in reports of domestic abuse. Many are cut off from vital support in their communities and are unable to access NHS mental health support. Birkbeck are working with a consultant psychiatrist to try and manage some high-risk cases, via online and phone sessions.