Your time here at University College Birmingham isn't all about study! Here, we bring you information about accommodation, medical issues, how you can share your views about University College Birmingham and how you can spend your leisure time, including details about The Guild of Students.
This page will tell you everything you need to know when starting student life at University College Birmingham.
Before you arrive
Before you start your course at University College Birmingham, check this list to make sure that you have done all of the things on it that apply to you. Some of them you should have done already!
- If you have a medical condition that might, in your opinion, affect your academic performance or have a specific learning difficulty such as dyslexia, you should have already contacted the Academic Skills Centre located in The Link.
- If you are a full-time student on a course which will bring you into contact with young children and/or vulnerable adults, then you will need to complete a criminal record check (known properly as a Disclosure and Barring Service check) before you can undertake a work placement. This is a statutory requirement, designed to protect children and/or vulnerable adults. You should have received details from UCB of what you need to do but if you have not please contact the Placement Office on 0121 604 1000 ext 2398.
- If you are a student on a course subject to Fitness to Practise requirements, you will also be required to complete a criminal record check and should bring with you any documents necessary for this.
- Check the induction and registration dates and times which have been sent to you.
- Ensure that you complete and return any forms as requested by University College Birmingham as soon as you are able.
When you arrive
Be sure to attend the induction and enrolment sessions for your course. When you enrol, you will collect your student ID card (see below). You should ensure that you bring the following items with you to enrolment:
- Evidence of entry qualifications
- Necessary documents for fees assessment/payment (see below)
Documents to bring with you
Please ensure that you bring the following items with you to Birmingham, if you do not live locally.
- An official document to prove your identity and nationality e.g. passport or birth certificate.
- If you were not born in the UK or EU please bring either your passport, biometric residency permit or Home Office letter confirming your residency status in the UK. If your current passport does not contain your residency status (which confirms your current leave to remain in the UK) you must also bring the passport which contains this.
- If you are an asylum seeker please bring with you your Application Registration Card.
- If you receive a State benefit in your own name please bring a copy of your benefit letter (this must be no more than six months old).
- GCSE and/or other qualification results, either the certificates or result slips. Even if your course does not have a GCSE entry requirement we still need to record your results.
Now you have arrived
- It is essential that you register with a doctor and/or dentist in the area where you are living while at University College Birmingham. Information regarding registering with a doctor and/or dentist is available either from the University College Birmingham Nurse, the Student Services Unit, or in the case of residents of The Maltings, in the information pack provided to you upon arrival. UCB works closely with the Halcyon Medical Centre located in Birmingham City Centre. Representatives from the practice will be available to discuss registration at various events after you have arrived.
- Become a member of the National Union of Students (NUS). Membership is free, although a charge entitles you to admission at concessionary rates to theatres, cinemas and other places of entertainment, reduced price travel on national and regional coach, bus and rail networks, and many other privileges.
- Make the most of your time at University College Birmingham by visiting the Guild of Students at the start of term. This will introduce you to the numerous clubs and societies existing in University College Birmingham, along with other organisations providing services to students. If you are seeking part-time work, it will also be a chance for you to find out about hired@UCB and to meet some employers.
- If you will be living out of walking distance from University College Birmingham, you might want to obtain a season ticket for travel on trains and/or buses in the Birmingham area. If you are aged between 16 and 18, then you will be eligible for the Network West Midlands 16-18 Photocard. If you are aged 19 or over, then, as a member of the NUS, you will be able to travel at a reduced rate on all public transport services in the West Midlands. The telephone number for Centro, the regional bus and train operator, is (0121) 200 2700.
Your ID card
You will be issued with an ID card when you enrol on your course. The card should be kept safe as it will be valid throughout the duration of your course. You will need your card to enter University College Birmingham's campus buildings, to borrow books and other materials from the libraries, to join the Guild of Students, to use University College Birmingham sports facilities, to gain entry to examination rooms, when submitting work for assessment and when collecting certificates.
If you lose your card, you can obtain a replacement from the University College Birmingham Finance Office, on the First Floor of The Link. There is a charge of £5 for a replacement card.
You may have some questions regarding your fees:
Can I pay my tuition fees in instalments?
If you are paying your own fees you can either pay in full at enrolment, or payment can be made in 4 equal instalments:
Level 1 & 2 courses - the first instalment must be paid when you enrol, then 3 further instalments in November, February and April.
Level 3 courses – instalments are due by the end of October, January, March and May.
Can I apply for a student loan to cover the cost of my tuition fees?
If you are aged 19 and over on the first day of your course and want to study a full Level 3 qualification, but are not entitled to fee remission, you may qualify for an Advanced Learner Loan. This is a non-means tested loan and is available from the UK Government to pay the tuition fees of full level 3 qualifications (course exclusions apply) starting after 1st August 2016. The loan is paid directly to UCB to cover the cost of your tuition, and does not have to be repaid until you are earning over £25,000 a year. For more information, please visit the Advanced Learner Loans section of the Gov.UK site.
What do I need to do if my employer is going to pay my tuition fees?
If your fees are being paid by your employer please bring a letter, on headed paper, from your employer confirming this and clearly stating who the invoice should be raised to.
Where can I go for advice about Further Education tuition fees?
If you have any questions about the information contained on this page please contact our Finance Department on 0121 232 4013 or call in to our office on the First Floor of the Summer Row site.
Student Support Services
The Centre for Academic Skills and English (CASE)
The Centre for Academic Skills and English is based on the top floor of The Link building.
All students are welcome to use the Centre, which is there to develop academic skills as well as improve students’ coursework and examination outcomes. The CASE 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
CASE offers a range of services for students with specific learning needs such as dyslexia or visual impairment; visit CASE 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 on the Third Floor of The Link, 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.
Student Services is based on the Ground Floor of The Link and is a one stop shop for all students, providing information, advice and guidance on non-academic matters. A range of support is available through the Student Services team and there is no need to arrange an appointment, just drop in and speak to a member of the team. They offer advice on:
- Financial Support
- Health and Wellbeing
The University owns and manages accommodation for more than 800 students at our purpose-built halls of residence in central Birmingham.
The Maltings student accommodation is owned and managed by University College Birmingham and is situated in the heart of the city on Granville Street, between Broad Street and Bath Row. The name was inspired by the brewery formerly based at the site.
The Maltings is popular with students attending the University for the first time. It is conveniently located only 10 to 15 minutes’ walk from the main campus and comprises 827 study bedrooms, including 809 en-suite rooms, of which five are twins.
Further details, costs and virtual tours can be seen on the Accommodation section of the UCB website.
It is important to manage your finances well whilst at College. To do this, you should ensure that you have access to any financial support that you may be eligible for. College students are able to apply through University College Birmingham’s financial support scheme for:
- Discretionary Bursary
- Help with travel costs (LSF)
- Help with the costs of Uniform and Equipment (LSF)
- Free College meals
Please note: All forms of support have specific requirements for eligibility.
Discretionary Bursary Scheme (DBS)
The DBS comprises of a weekly payment to students from low-income backgrounds to assist with travel costs. In order to qualify, the student must reside in the UK.
There are two main categories:
- Discretionary Bursary - for students aged under 19 (on 1 September 2018), whose gross household income is less than £25,000 per annum. Bursary payments of £20 per week will be made, subject to attendance checks and satisfactory behaviour criteria.
- Mandatory Bursary - for students aged 16-18 who are identified as vulnerable. This can include: children in care, care leavers, and those on income support. Such students will be entitled to a guaranteed bursary of £1,200 per academic year.
Learner Support Fund (LSF)
The Learner Support Fund is a discretionary fund to assist college (further education) students with course-related costs such as essential uniform, equipment and travel.
The fund is available to students who have a total household income of less than £30,810 per year.
What is available?
- Uniform and Equipment
First-year college students can apply for essential uniform and equipment costs for the following courses only: chef (professional cookery), bakery, hospitality, hairdressing, beauty, theatrical and media make-up.
A non-refundable contribution of £50 is required before the order can be processed.
- Travel assistance
Students aged 19 and over (on the 1 September 2017) are able to apply for travel assistance which will be supplied as travel vouchers to purchase a bus pass only. Satisfactory attendance of over 80% is required for continued support. Students who are eligible for the Discretionary Bursary Scheme are expected to meet travel costs out of their weekly payment and will therefore not be eligible to receive travel vouchers.
- Travel assistance (outside the Network West Midlands area)
Please contact Student Services to discuss additional support available to you if your home is outside of the Network West Midlands area.
- Free College Meals
University College Birmingham provides free lunch-time meals to all students aged under 19 on the 1st September 2017, in full-time education and are deemed by the Government to be eligible for the scheme. Our aim is to ensure studying at University College Birmingham is open to everyone and we want to help our students manage the costs associated with full-time study.
Am I eligible?
You will need to be aged 16, 17 or 18 in a full-time college (further education) course and will need to have applied for our Discretionary Bursary Scheme (DBS).
To be eligible for free meals, the Government has identified students being in receipt of, or having parents who are in receipt of, one or more of the following benefits:
- Income support
- Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- The guarantee element of State Pension Credit
- Child Tax Credit (provided they are not entitled to Working Tax Credit) and have an annual gross income of no more than £25,000, as assessed by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs
Childcare doesn't have to be an obstacle to learning at University College Birmingham. There are a number of schemes to assist UK students with childcare costs. If you need to find a suitable childcare provider you should contact the Family Information Service run by your local authority.
Students aged 16 to 19
Students aged between 16 and 19 on the start date of their course must apply for childcare support through the Care to Learn Scheme. To find out more information and how to apply, go to the Gov.UK Care to Learn site. Alternatively, call the helpline on 0800 121 8989.
College students aged 20+
Students aged 20 and over are able to apply for help with childcare costs through the Learner Support Fund if their total household income falls below £30,810 per annum. Funding is limited and allocated on a first come, first served basis. Students who make a successful application are expected to maintain an excellent attendance record for the duration of their course.
For further information on any of the above forms of support, please visit the Financial Support section of the UCB website.
HIRED - Careers, employability and placements service
Hired is the careers, employability and placements service for students and alumni at University College Birmingham. Based on the Ground Floor of the Moss House Campus building, we have a team of specialist and qualified staff with the knowledge and experience to support our students to recognise and build the skills needed to be successful in the world of work. O
In addition to the support offered within each course, we have a team of Careers & Employability Tutors who have specialist industry knowledge and experience to help you identify career goals and develop employability skills during your time at University College Birmingham.
One-to-one career guidance interviews provide impartial and confidential careers advice to support you in your career decision-making process. To book an appointment, simply log in to Hired Connect and select the date and time that suits you.
RESOURCES AND WORKSHOPS
Support is available to develop the skills identified in order to achieve your career goals. These will be delivered through the curriculum, careers, work placement and additional learning.
Career presentations and workshops are available throughout the academic year on a broad range of employability topics including job searching, CV writing, interview techniques, networking skills, the use of social media, plus many more. We also provide a range of employability learning materials and information online.
University College Birmingham has launched Hired Connect, a portal that provides students with a wide range of careers and employability resources and e-learning to help you build the skills for your future career. This includes, amongst many other things: job profiles; e-learning materials; a CV builder and videos from employers.
WORK PLACEMENT EXPERIENCE
With all periods of work placement, the aim is for students to gain experience in a professional environment. Students have the opportunity to discuss their career pathway with an Employability Tutor to determine the most suitable type of experience. They will suggest appropriate employers for your work placement, taking into account your experience and level of vocational knowledge and skills. Furthermore, the Employability Tutor will also be available to support you and the employer throughout the work placement.
For many students, the work placement is compulsory whilst for others it is optional; therefore, students need to consider the overall benefits and implications regarding their course length and funding. When thinking about a work placement, it is important to remember that experiencing the world of work is the most effective way of improving and developing your skills so that you are employable upon your graduation. Most employers actively seek out graduates who already have industry experience within their sector.
An important point to remember is that the work placement you experience may lead to a part-time job alongside the remainder of your studies and/or, for final-year students, a full-time position upon graduation.
Unitemps is our campus-based recruitment agency. Whether you would like part-time work during term time, seasonal work or full-time work during the academic holiday periods, Unitemps is here to help you. You can register by visiting the Unitemps website or visit our Recruitment Consultants within HIRED on the Ground Floor of the Moss House Campus.
Our Hired Connect portal provides students and alumni with online access to a wide variety of vacancies and careers resources. Their roles are provided to us directly by employers looking for University College Birmingham graduates. The search functionality will show you ALL jobs in the area and sector that you are looking for, and the ones uploaded for you by us will ALWAYS be at the top. This enables you to search for suitable vacancies wherever you are based.
Volunteering is a great way to gain additional experience during your studies, and will support you in getting hired at the end of your course. We support you to find opportunities in the following ways:
- Advertising volunteering opportunities around the university – online and on screens
- Hosting recruitment events on campus to give you the opportunity to talk to organisations face-to-face.
EMPLOYER ENGAGEMENT AND ALUMNI SUPPORT
Throughout the academic year, the HIRED team coordinate a wide range of opportunities for you to meet with local, national and international employers and alumni. Events include recruitment fairs, employer presentations and alumni support through presentations, mentoring and networking.
Our Hired Connect portal provides students with support for up to 5 years after they complete their studies at University College Birmingham. This means that University College Birmingham will continue to help you secure the career you want whether you are still a student or part of our Alumni family.
Health and Wellbeing
Here at University College Birmingham, we want to help you get the most out of your time with us. We recognise that good health and wellbeing are fundamental for effective study and a positive student experience.
There are many environmental stresses and personal difficulties which are likely to affect you as a student, so University College Birmingham has a free and confidential Health & Wellbeing Service which is open to everyone.
The service strives to promote and encourage healthy lifestyles and positive mental health and the team is on-hand to help you manage any difficulties or concerns you may have.
Nurse and Medical Service
The Nursing Service is here to provide you with practical advice and assistance regarding medical needs while you are studying with us. The Nurse can assist with a number of practical issues, such as:
- General health advice, such as smoking, diet, on-going illness or health concerns
- Contraception advice and pregnancy risk assessments
- Advice on how to register with a GP or a dentist and how to claim costs
- Provide non-prescription analgesics
- Treat cuts, burns, scalds and any other minor injuries
- Information on immunisations
- Advice with completing the HC1 form (which could entitle you to reduced costs on NHS prescription charges or dental treatment if you are eligible)
The service, like all the others provided by Student Services, is free and confidential. There is no need to book an appointment with the Nurse. A drop-in service is offered in Room 730, 7th Floor, Summer Row.
The standard opening times of the Nursing Service are as follows:
8am – 4pm Monday to Thursday
8am – 3pm Friday
Alternatively, you can contact the Nurse via:
Phone: 0121 604 1000 (ext.2296), Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mental Health and Wellbeing
Our Mental Health & Wellbeing Service, based on the Ground Floor of The Link building, is committed to helping you access the most appropriate support and information. As such, all first appointments relating to mental health and wellbeing take the form of an initial assessment with a member of the team.
The purpose of this appointment is to provide you with an opportunity to discuss your main concerns and to explore your needs in a confidential and supportive environment. It will give you the opportunity to discuss what service and/or support is appropriate following the assessment.
The Mental Health & Wellbeing Adviser provides support, advice and guidance to prospective and current students of University College Birmingham.
If you are experiencing a mental health difficulty, emotional or psychological distress, our Adviser can help you to identify your specific needs, provide practical support, and help you develop coping strategies.
During the period of support, the Adviser may also work alongside the Curriculum Team for Academic and Pastoral Support, and can assist you in accessing external mental health and wellbeing services.
Counselling is a talking therapy which provides the opportunity and space for you to talk about anything that is affecting you, whether it is linked to your studies or a personal issue.
Counselling is about you being accepted, valued, and listened to, rather than being judged or criticised. It is not about being given advice or being told what to do. Counsellors are trained to help you gain a better understanding of your thoughts and feelings, enabling you to make changes.
What is mentoring?
Mentoring is when someone with more knowledge in an area helps a less experienced person. It is a learning partnership.
Mentoring is about helping people to make their own informed decisions and it has big benefits for both parties. At University College Birmingham, mentors don’t teach or tell learners what to do. Trust is essential – and the partnership can be great fun, too.
For further information on how you can take part, please visit the Mentoring section of the University College Birmingham website.
It is possible that at some point during your time in Birmingham you will come across illegal drugs. All drugs produce some kind of change in the way a person’s body works and the availability of most drugs - be they aspirins, alcohol or amphetamines - is controlled by law.
- Class A drugs are heroin, ecstasy, LSD, cocaine, crack, hash oil, and injectable class Bs. Illegal possession of a class A drug could lead to seven years in prison, and the maximum penalty for trafficking (dealing or manufacture) is life.
- Class B drugs are amphetamines, barbiturates, cannabis and mephedrone. Illegal possession of these drugs could lead to five years in prison and the maximum penalty for trafficking them is 14 years.
- Class C drugs are steroids, tranquillisers and benzodiazepines. Illegal possession of these drugs could mean two years in prison and the maximum penalty for trafficking is five years.
- Someone prosecuted for illegal drug use will not necessarily be sent to prison, but could end up with a criminal record, which can make getting a job very difficult.
- If a police officer has reasonable grounds to suspect that you are in possession of a controlled drug, the officer can search you, your home and your vehicle and seize anything which seems to be evidence of an offence.
- UCB will adhere to the law and take action if you are found to be in possession (or involved in the use or supply) of illegal drugs.
- Please remember: the use of illegal drugs may cost you your place at University College Birmingham.
The UCB Counselling Service offers confidential advice on drug problems and has details of local organisations who can help. Information is also available on FRANK, the National Drugs Helpline tel: 0800 776 600.
Leisure at UCB
Free Time at UCB
Whether it’s before, after or even between classes, we want you to make the very most of every minute here at UCB - and that means taking full advantage of all the amazing facilities, societies and hangouts we have to offer. Take a look below for a few pointers.
Food and Drink
No matter where you are on campus, we’ve got plenty of places you can get your morning coffee fix or grab lunch between classes – try Rooftop Coffee on the 8th floor of Summer Row for incredible views over the city, or The Café down on the 5th floor for delicious hot food cooked daily from scratch. Over at McIntyre House we have a Starbucks concession - where you can get a cappuccino for under £2 - along with a broad range of hot and cold food.
Dining at one of UCB’s top restaurants, The Brasserie or The Atrium, is an unmissable experience for any UCB student. The Atrium is a fine dining venue offering some of the best food in the city. The Brasserie provides the same quality ingredients and standard of cooking in a relaxed, informal setting. Both are incredibly good value.
Cakes and Bakes is UCB’s very own onsite bakery with fresh bread, biscuits and cakes made daily by our bakery students. There are bargain prices, and it can all sell out fast – so get there early to avoid disappointment.
Sport and Fitness
There’s a purpose-built sports hall at The Maltings with equipment for a huge range of sports including tennis, football, indoor cricket and much more.
Joining one of the many sports societies available via the University’s Guild of Students will give you the opportunity to get fit, meet like-minded people and have a lot of fun along the way. From netball to basketball, zumba to mountain biking, and classes available at every level, there’s bound to be something that will suit you.
The Guild of Students
When it comes to downtime at UCB our Guild of Students has pretty much thought of everything – and membership isn’t just for our university students. College students are both welcome and strongly encouraged join in. Take a look at their website to find out about the different societies on offer (as well as how to start your own) on top of one-off activity days, events and chances to get involved taking place throughout the year. Make sure you never miss out: follow the Guild on Facebook,Twitter and Instagram or get in touch direct via email@example.com.
Getting Your Views Heard
We are sure you will have opinions about your experience while you are studying at UCB and we would like to hear them. Perhaps you can suggest a way to improve your course, or perhaps you have a comment about the facilities at UCB? You might have views on the way your timetable is arranged, the opening hours of the library, or the range of confectionery available from the Café vending machines. Big or small, it is only by hearing your opinions that we can continuously improve the service that we offer to all our students.
There are many ways in which you can get your point across at UCB, but here are some of them:
- If you have any matter relating to your course or University life that you would like to discuss with a member of staff, the best place to start is with your Personal Tutor. You can also discuss matters relating to your studies with your module lecturers.
- We host a student teaching and learning conference annually called The Listening Project. All Student Representatives, along with a random sample of students from across the programmes, are invited to collaborate with us on how we can enhance your learning experience at UCB. A number of activities take place throughout the conference culminating in a panel debate in which students are able to question members of the Executive Management Team of the University and representatives from the Guild of Students and have their voice heard.
- You will have opportunities to complete satisfaction questionnaires at regular intervals throughout your course of study - after your first couple of months at University, at the end of each academic year, at the end of any extended period of work placement and after leaving (as part of our student destination monitoring).
- Students on all courses are asked to nominate a student from their group to represent them at Subject Board meetings. These meetings are held once a semester and give you the chance to air your views about your course and any matter relating to UCB. Academic matters raised at Subject Board meetings are carried forward to Board of Studies meetings, where staff and student representatives from all the Higher Education courses at UCB come together and matters arising from these meetings are forwarded in turn to the Academic Board, a meeting of senior academic and management figures at UCB. Student representatives are trained and supported by the Student Guild.
- Each programme site on Canvas has a discussion board where students are encouraged to provide feedback on what they enjoy about their course and what they would like to see improved. This is monitored regularly and changes, where appropriate, are made accordingly.
If on the other hand you are unhappy about any aspect of UCB provision and you wish to make a complaint, please refer to the Student Complaints Procedure, which is available on the UCB Student Portal.
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