Student Information and Support

The Academic Skills Centres (ASCs)

UCB has two Academic Skills Centres (ASCs) – one is located within the Fourth Floor Library at Richmond House and the other in the Upper Level of the Fifth Floor Library on the Summer Row Campus, with disabled access via SR603.

All students are welcome to use the Centres, which are there to develop academic skills as well as improve students’ coursework and examination outcomes. The ASC team seeks to give students opportunities to maximise their potential and move forward into further study or achieve the qualifications to enhance potential employability.

Additional Learning Needs

The ASCs offer a range of services for students with specific learning needs such as dyslexia or visual impairment; visit the ASC to discuss your individual needs and find out about the support packages which are available. You will be advised on the procedure to inform the Examinations Unit, based in the Academic Registry in Summer Row Room 629, about any special arrangements you may require in an examination, such as the use of a computer or the provision of a reader, if this is appropriate.

The Student Information Suite

The services provided in the Student Information Suite include the day-to-day operation of two halls of residence (The Maltings and Cambrian Hall), providing career advice and guidance from hired@UCB, the management of student financial support including the administration of our discretionary support funds and the provision of term-time counselling and nursing services. The Unit provides guidance for students who wish to live in the private sector and provides guidance and administrative support on many other topics including Council Tax, welfare benefits and budgeting.

The Unit offers advice and guidance on financial matters including assisting applicants with the student finance application process and applications for support funds.

Although other UCB staff are able to assist and advise students on many issues, particularly those that are academically related, it can sometimes be quicker and more effective for members of the Student Services Unit to follow through requests for assistance. All services, except the Counselling Service, operate on a drop-in basis although some restrictions on time are in place. Appointments or referrals to the Counselling Service or for one-to-one career guidance interviews may be made via the 7th Floor Reception.

A more detailed guide to the work of the Unit follows. Please remember that information contained on these pages is constantly updated in line with new legislation and/or procedures. Don’t forget, the best way to obtain up-to-date information is via the UCB Online System.

Accommodation Service

UCB currently manages two sites of accommodation providing over 1000 places - details of which are available via the UCB website. The availability of accommodation is dependent on the circumstances of the individual students.

Priority is given to 1st year students and is determined by need. It should be stressed to students that each hall of residence has a different character and places are allocated according to the requirements stated on the application form.

UCB considers its Halls of Residence not to be suitable for students under the age of 18. However, students who wish to be considered for a place in UCB-managed accommodation are asked to contact the Accommodation Manager in the first instance.

Students, including first year students and other full-time students, are also housed in the private sector. Private accommodation varies widely from studio apartments to shared houses and, as you would expect, prices and quality also vary. Student Services can provide guidance about private accommodation, as well as discuss where to start. It is important to stress that we do not find private accommodation for students. It is better that the individual student makes contact with the private property owner directly in order to find accommodation that suits his/her needs. We do, however, offer a full back-up service to students in the private sector, supplying support and information throughout the year.

Health Care

The UCB Nurse, Linda Taylor, is not just available for dealing with minor cuts and ailments. She can also provide advice and treatment on a wide range of health issues, including immunisation, smoking, diet and contraception. Linda is active in health surveillance work as well as supporting and monitoring the first-aid team. Appointments are not necessary as Linda offers a drop-in service. Her opening hours are Monday to Thursday 8:00am to 4:00pm and Friday 8:00am to 3:15pm. She is based in Room 730 on the Summer Row Campus.

Counselling

If you have problems of a personal nature, a member of the Counselling team will see you so you can talk about whatever is bothering you. It doesn't matter how small or large you think the problem is - the Counselling Service is there to help you find ways of dealing with it. Everything that is discussed is kept completely confidential.

UCB wants you to enjoy your time studying and if at any time you feel that you cannot talk to friends, family or staff concerned with your course, then maybe the Counselling Service can help you. The counsellor is not able to offer a magic solution, but will listen carefully and help you to arrive at a better understanding of the situation. The process of exploring thoughts, feelings and behaviour will often bring some relief and may enable you to make changes for yourselves.

There are many reasons why someone should use the Counselling Service. These may be directly linked to UCB life – such as difficulties with settling in or anxieties about your course of study.  Issues such as depression, anxiety, decision-making, self-esteem, relationships, eating disorders, bereavement and sexuality are also dealt with. The Counselling Service is located in the Student Information Suite on the 7th Floor at Summer Row and you can make an appointment by visiting the 7th Floor Reception, calling (0121) 604 1000 ext 2269 or emailing counselling@ucb.ac.uk. More details of the UCB Counselling Service can be found here.

Childcare

A childcare requirement need not be an obstacle for potential students returning to education. For advice on available financial support please contact our Student Budget Counsellor on 0121 232 4305 to discuss your circumstances.

Financial and Welfare Advice - Student Budget Counsellors

Specific details of the financial support available for students during 2014/15 are available throughout your Induction. However, support may be given in a number of different ways, whether it is advice on applying for a student loan, eligibility for a grant or how to apply for welfare benefits. There are also many occasions where financial assistance is provided to meet the additional costs such as childcare, equipment, travel expenses and living expenses.

The Unit administers UCB’s John Slaughter Memorial Fund and the Learner Support Fund. It is very important that if you are experiencing financial problems that you visit the Student Services Unit as support is often available.

Discretionary Bursary Scheme (DBS)

Many students on Further Education programmes are eligible to receive a regular funding allowance to help support them during their studies. The Discretionary Bursary Scheme (DBS) is an allowance intended to assist students whose annual household income falls below the £20,817 threshold. These allowances are weekly, attendance, behaviour and commitment-based payments.

UCB’s Attendance and Discretionary Bursary Scheme Co-ordinator will monitor each student’s attendance, attitude, progress and behaviour and report whether these have been satisfactory or not to UCB’s Finance Department, who then pay a set weekly amount to each student who has met the criteria.

For more information, please view the online DBS Student Guidance. For additional or specific support, please contact either the Attendance and Discretionary Bursary Scheme Co-ordinator, Nadine Growcock in Room 629 of the Summer Row Campus, or the Student Services Department in the Student Information Suite on the Seventh Floor of the Summer Row Campus.

You should also see the Attendance Team if you wish to negotiate a forthcoming absence or to sign out of UCB early for any reason other than sickness. Any supporting letters or appointment cards should be brought with you to ensure that the absence can be recorded and authorised if appropriate. The Attendance Team is based in Room 629 of the Summer Row site.

Overseas Liaison

UCB has a thriving community of over 1000 overseas students from over 60 different countries. The International Student Adviser is available to assist overseas students in any aspect of student life but particularly visa and work permit queries. Please note that this area of work is constantly affected by changes in legislation; therefore, it is very important that a referral is made to the International Office to minimise potential error.

International Office

Based on the 7th floor of the Summer Row campus, the International Office offers support to help ensure that the process of applying for a course and international students' arrival in the UK runs as smoothly as possible. The International team has a wealth of experience of working with and teaching international students and can help with academic support, accommodation, welfare support, visa applications and immigration issues.

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