Support from University College Birmingham

At University College Birmingham we aim to support our students to develop, achieve and reach their potential. The Kick-Start Scheme provides students targeted financial support to spend on educational resources and a range of products and services to compliment your studies and enhance your student experience.

For more information please read the FAQs below. 

New students starting a full-time undergraduate or PGCE course from September 2018 may be eligible to receive financial support in the form of the ‘The Kick-Start Scheme’. Eligible students will receive credit of up to £800 in each year of study which does not need to be paid back. Funds can be spent on a dedicated website to purchase course-related materials or on selected items on campus.

The Kick-Start Scheme has been set up in partnership with the John Smith’s Group to help kick-start your studies and enable you to make the best of your time at University. The Scheme will help to improve access to the tools and resources you need to support your studies.

There is no application process, all eligible students will be able to collect their Kick-Start card as part of the enrolment process. Once you have enrolled and collected your card funds will be ready to spend immediately. Your account will come preloaded with £300, and if you are eligible to receive the additional £500 this will be loaded onto your account in the first few weeks of semester 2.

Some students will also be entitled to an electronic tablet, pre-loaded with relevant Apps, to assist you in your studies. 

FAQs for the Electronic Tablets

Eligibility

Who is eligible for ‘The Kick-Start Scheme’ funds? Who is eligible for ‘The Kick-Start Scheme’ funds?

You must meet all of the following criteria to be eligible:

  • You must be considered a new student studying a full-time, undergraduate or PGCE course, which starts in September 2018 or after. 
  • You must have a student status of Home, EU or Channel Isles (i.e. not be considered an International student).
  • You must be paying fees at the maximum (£9,250) rate.

Am I considered a new student?

You are a new student if you meet one of the following criteria:

  • This is the first full-time undergraduate course you have started at University College Birmingham.
  • You are starting a PGCE course after 1st September 2018.
  • You have previously started an undergraduate course at University College Birmingham, from which you have been withdrawn. 

    Specific rules apply to students who have received Kick-Start funds in the past and then withdrawn from study. See question ‘I have previously withdrawn from study, am I eligible?’ for more information.

  • You have transferred from a part-time undergraduate course onto a full-time undergraduate course in September 2018 or after.

I have previously withdrawn from study, am I eligible?

When you withdraw from study any Kick-Start funds remaining will be frozen. If you then enrol on a course of the same level you will not receive additional funds but we will make any previous balance available to you.  You will then receive your next award when you progress into the next year of your course.

What happens if I change my course?

You can only receive one award per year of study. If you change your course but remain at the same level of study you will not receive a further award in that year but will receive an award in each progressive year of study. 

How often will I receive funds?

You will receive funds for each taught year of your course, where you meet the eligibility criteria.

You will only receive funds once for each taught year of your course. For example, if you defer study having already received your entitled funds for that year of the course, when you resume on that same year and course you will not receive any additional funds. When you progress to the next year of the course, you will then be eligible for the next year’s funds.

I am repeating study – am I eligible?

Students who are repeating study pay a reduced rate fee therefore you will not be eligible. However, any credit you have remaining on your Kick-Start account from your previous year(s) can be continued to be used whilst you are repeating study.

I am on placement – am I eligible?

Students who are on placement do not pay a tuition fee for the period they are on placement and therefore you will not be eligible. However, any credit you have remaining on your Kick-Start account from your previous year(s) can be continued to be used whilst you are on placement.

If your year includes a half year placement, then you will be entitled to half of the funds for that course year (i.e. £150, with the potential of a further £250 subject to meeting the additional payment criteria).

I am not in attendance because I am resitting – am I eligible?

Students who are resitting do not pay fees and do not have an enrolled (in attendance status), therefore you will not be eligible for further credit being awarded and any remaining funds on your account will be suspended until you return back to the course.

I am topping up from an FdA/FdSc to a BA/BSc(Hons) course – am I eligible?

Yes, students who top up to a full-time BA/BSc(Hons) from an FdA/FdSc will be eligible for the Kick-Start Scheme.

I meet the eligibility criteria but I have been given a fee discount – am I still eligible?

Students who meet the eligibility criteria for the Kick-Start Scheme may have been given an early payment discount or a PGCE progression fee waiver. If you are paying at the £9250 rate but have been made eligible for one of these discounts then you will still be entitled to ‘The Kick-Start Scheme’.

I am a student who started my full-time Undergraduate course prior to September 2018 – why am I not eligible?

Most universities have an ‘Access agreement’ which sets out how a higher education provider will sustain or improve access, student success and progression. Access agreements must be submitted annually, but the commitments UCB make in each agreement apply to each cohort of students who start in that year, and remain in force for the duration of their studies. All Access agreements between 2012/13 and 2017/18 specified that UCB would provide eligible students with fee waivers. We therefore have to keep this agreement for students who started the course between (and inclusive of) these academic years. If you receive fee discount(s) this will reduce the amount of tuition fees you need to pay and therefore will potentially reduce the amount of loan you need to repay in the future. You can also still use the Kick-Start website to purchase items using your credit/debit card.

Funds

How much do I get?

Students studying a full-taught year will get £300 of credit at the start of your year. If you are a UK student with a household income of below £25,000 you will be entitled to a further £500 at the start of your second semester. Both your household income and your eligibility as a UK student will be determined by your Student Finance assessment. You therefore need to ensure you (and anyone else who provides information as part of your Student Finance application) give consent for their information to be shared with the University.

I’m on placement for half my course year – how much do I get?

If your course year includes a half year placement, then you will be entitled to half of the funds for that course year (i.e. £150, with the potential of a further £250 subject to meeting the additional payment criteria). Please note your course year is determined by whether you are following a September or January intake. If you are still unsure what funds you may be entitled to, please visit the Student Services team or email kickstart@ucb.ac.uk.

When do I get my funds?

Your £300 credit on your Kick-Start account will be available within 30minutes of you completing your enrolment in full (i.e. both Enrolment Part 1 and Enrolment Part 2).

If you are entitled to the additional £500 credit (refer to question ' How much do I get?') you will receive this within four weeks of the start of teaching in semester 2.

Once your funds have been released you will be emailed to your University College Birmingham email account (yourstudentid@student.ucb.ac.uk). You will also be sent a password to access the Kick-Start website. Once you have logged in you can start purchasing items straightaway from the Kick-Start website

Is it a loan? Do I have to pay it back?

No, it is not a loan and it does not need to be paid back.

What happens to my credit if I don’t spend it?

At the end of each year, any unspent funds on your Kick-Start Scheme account will roll forward until the final year of your course. On 30th September immediately following the expected completion of your course any unspent funds will be removed from the account, meaning you cannot spend these after this date. If however, you enrol onto another eligible course (e.g. a full-time BA/BSc (Hons) top up course or PGCE) before 30th September any unspent funds will be rolled forward.

How do I know how much I have remaining on my Kick-Start account?

You can check your balance via your online Kick-Start account

Can I, or friends and family add funds to my Kick-Start account?

Yes, further credit can be added via your online Kick-Start account. If you don’t spend this additional credit then you can request for this money to be refunded to you by contacting customer.service@ucb-kickstart.co.uk Please note you cannot have any unspent credit that the University has issued to you refunded - only the additional funds you, friends or family have added.     

If I withdraw from the University do I need to pay back the Kick-Start funds I’ve spent?

No, but the University will remove any unspent funds from your Kick-Start account as soon as your withdrawal is processed.

If I defer from my course what happens to my Kick-Start account? If I defer from my course what happens to my Kick-Start account?

Your Kick-Start account will be suspended from when your deferral is processed until you resume study. This means you will not be able to use any of your Kick-Start funds during your period of deferral, but any unspent funds will remain there ready for when you return to study.

Please note you will only receive funds once for each taught year of your course. For example, if you defer study having already received your entitled funds for that year of the course, when you resume on that same year and course you will not receive any additional funds. When you progress to the next year of the course, you will then be eligible for the next year’s funds.

What happens if I have received an overpayment?

If you have received an overpayment for some reason, the overpayment will be taken out of your Kick-Start account or from any future entitlement if there are not sufficient funds in your account.

I think I’m entitled to the additional funds at the start of Semester 2 but I haven’t received them, what should I do? I think I’m entitled to the additional funds at the start of Semester 2 but I haven’t received them, what should I do?

You will need to check with Student Finance if your application has been ‘income-assessed’ and, if so, whether the household income figure reported is below £25,000.  You will also need to ensure that you and all the people who have supported your application (i.e. parent(s) or partner) have given consent for the University to see this information.

Once you have checked the above please visit our Kick-Start team in Student Services who will check your eligibility for an additional award. 

Please note that for students enrolled on a September start course your income assessment must be completed by Student Finance no later than 30th June each year. For January starters awards this must be completed by 30th November of each year. After these dates, no additional awards for that particular year will be issued. 

How can I spend my funds?

You can spend your funds on the following:

  • On the Kick-Start website run by our partner organisation John Smith’s - take a look to see what you can purchase!
  • At the Student Guild:

    - Society Membership fees

    - University College Birmingham branded clothing

  • Towards optional trips (pay at the First Floor Finance Office, Summer Row)
  • Printing credits (can be purchased from the Resource Centre, Summer Row only)
  • In the cafés at Summer Row and McIntyre House

Is there a limit as to how I can spend my funds?

Of the £300 you receive, £250 must be spent on the Kick-Start website, the remaining £50 can be used on the other items from within University College Birmingham (listed above) or you can spend this on the Kick-Start website too. If you are entitled to the additional £500 (see 'How much do I get?' for more information), £300 of this amount must be spent on the Kick-Start website; the remaining £200 can be used on the other items from within University College Birmingham (listed above) or if you prefer all or some of this £200 can be spent on the Kick-Start website.

What if I want to buy something that costs more than I have funds for on my Kick-Start account?

This isn’t a problem. You can use what funds you have available from your Kick-Start account and pay for the outstanding amount via credit/debit card. If you have no funds remaining on your Kick-Start account you can simply purchase items using your credit/debit card.

Account / Card

I have forgotten my PIN, how do I reset it?

Reset your PIN online here. Alternatively, you can email customer.service@ucb-kickstart.co.uk to find out where you can go within UCB to reset your PIN. Please note if you are resetting your pin in person, you must ensure you have your University College Birmingham ID card with you.

I have forgotten my Kick-Start account password, how do I reset it?

Use the forgotten password facility on your Kick-Start account to reset your password.

Can I return items purchased on the Kick-Start website?

Should you change your mind about your order, John Smith's operates a 'no questions asked' returns policy providing you return your product within 14 calendar days of the delivery of your order. Please note eBooks cannot be returned, refunded or exchanged. For more details on John Smith’s return policy and how to return items please click here.

The item I ordered on the Kick-Start website has arrived damaged / faulty / incorrectly supplied. What should I do?

Please notify John Smith’s within 24hours of receiving the order. The return procedure can be found here.

An order hasn’t arrived, despite my Kick-Start account showing the order was dispatched more than 48 hours ago.

Please contact John Smith’s if you are concerned about an order that hasn’t arrived.

Getting your Kick-Start Account / Funds

How do I get my Kick-Start Card?

Due to the need for social distancing and cashless payments on campus, Kick-Start cards will not be issued during the first semester of 2020/21. This will be reviewed closer to the start of second semester.

Once your Kick-Start card is issued you will be able to use some of your funds on campus at:

  • 5th floor and 8th floor cafes at Summer Row
  • ground floor café at McIntyre House
  • at the Cash Office, first floor, The Link
  • at the Resource Centre, lower ground floor, The Link

When do I get my funds?

Your £300 credit on your Kick-Start account will be available within 30minutes of you completing your enrolment in full.

If you are entitled to the additional £500 credit (refer to question ' How much do I get?') you will receive this within four weeks of the start of teaching in semester 2.

Other queries

If you have a query about your Kick-Start account that isn’t answered here please email kickstart@ucb.ac.uk with your query. Our team will then either assist you with your enquiry about The Kick-Start Scheme or direct you to someone who can help.