Skip to main content


A few University of Exeter students on campus during the pandemic

Support for students impacted by COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected students in many ways including financially, emotionally and practically in terms of their learning. Our supporter community has provided support for impacted students in several ways through their generous donations. You can read about several of these stories below. Thank you for your support.

In March 2021, thanks to a generous donation from Exeter alumnus Mr David Higgins (Law 1990), all 913 Medicine (BMBS programme), students at the University of Exeter were offered a £30 voucher to spend at one of three food retailers

David is a longstanding supporter of the University, and wanted to recognise some of the unprecedented challenges students have faced due to the COVID-19 pandemic. David noted that: “When my daughter began her Medical studies at Exeter last year, I saw first-hand how these difficult times have affected students. While the University has done a fantastic job of finding new ways to deliver the complex Medicine programme, it does mean that students spend a lot of their time at home, learning on their own and studying in a different way than many had imagined. I hope the students will use these vouchers to treat themselves and enjoy some tasty recipes and food, perhaps while socialising with their household or bubble.”

Recipients of the vouchers were exceptionally grateful for them and shared feedback such as:

“This was a wonderful surprise! Just finishing up exams and deadlines and it's made me and my friends all very excited and what we can do with it! Thank you!”

“Thank you so much, getting through final year and all my placement assessments and finals has been made very difficult by COVID-19 and being isolated from my family. Things like this really cheer us up.”

“This such a beautiful, kind and thoughtful gift. You…have sincerely cheered me up. I hope to one day be able to show others the same kindness that you have shown us today.”

“This is very generous of you, and definitely appreciated. This inspires me to keep working hard to make as much positive impact in the lives of the people around me/those I meet. Your thoughtfulness and kindness is awe-inspiring. Thank you very much.”

Additional support was also received from the Southdown Trust in 2020 to support undergraduate students within Camborne School of Mines with hardship bursaries. Many of the recipients had experienced a loss of earnings, as they were unable to take up their usual part-time jobs and not being eligible for furlough. In addition, many of the recipients were unable to get out of accommodation contracts that they had to continue to pay even though they were unable to live there. In particular the trust were motivated to support Geology students who would have been undertaking valuable practical experiences through summer internships which were unable to run, to ensure they were not further hindered by financial worries.

One of the recipients commented: “Over the summer I was unable to obtain a job to support myself due to a vulnerable family member needing to shield for health reasons and the lack of suitable jobs available which wouldn’t put them at risk. For this reason I had a loss of income to support myself during the final year of my degree. Entering into my final year studying BSc Geology has been challenging, as well as rewarding, receiving the bursary has helped ensure my third year hasn’t been limiting. The money has been a great help with living expenses, as well as buying various geological equipment needed for practical’s, helping ensure I can focus on getting the most out of my degree before graduation next year, without any financial distractions.”

The pandemic also had a significant impact on our PhD students who were unable to continue with the practical nature of their research projects in the normal way. Whilst many were supported by the University with funding to cover a period of extended studies, some went on to continue to experience disruption and delays throughout early 2021 causing their extension funding to be exhausted and still facing significant living costs. The Water Conservation Trust have donated in support of two PhD students undertaking Water Engineering research to ensure they are able to continue in to the final stages of their PhDs with adequate financial support. One of the recipients commented: “Thank you to the Water Conservation Trust, this funding would go a long way towards living expenses for me and my family now my extension funding has run out.”

Thank you to all our supporters who have provided support for students impacted by COVID-19 over the last year, it has made an incredible difference.


Date: 23 June 2021

Read more University News