Department for the Economy Financial Support Package

We understand that for students right across the world, life during this COVID-19 pandemic can be an anxious time for many reasons, including changed personal or family circumstances, loss of income from part time work, living away from home, and the need for equipment to participate as fully as possible in online learning during this time.

Lockdown can lead to feelings of isolation and we understand that limited time with friends and family can be distressing.

Throughout the pandemic Ulster University and your Students’ Union (UUSU) have been committed to supporting you academically and personally.

We welcome the commitment from the Department for the Economy to introduce the COVID-19 Disruption Payment and other support measures, in recognition of the significant challenges faced by university students during the pandemic.

We’ve put together answers to some of the questions you may have at this time and will keep these pages updated as more detail becomes available.

If we haven’t answered your question on this page, you can email us at

NI Executive Funding at a glance

Through the COVID-19 Disruption Payment, eligible students will receive a one-off payment of £500 to help alleviate the challenges that students have faced as a result of the pandemic.

In addition to the COVID-19 Disruption Payment, the NI Executive funding will also:

  • provide enhanced support for those students in most need and particularly for those from disadvantaged backgrounds. Eligible students will be contacted directly as soon as further details are available.
  • enable us to further enhance our range of resources, interventions and partnerships in support of student mental health and wellbeing, in place at all times but so vitally important right now.
  • be directed to enabling access to the technology needed for online learning.

The package also considers financial support for students staying in University accommodation. Students staying in UU accommodation will be contacted directly as soon as details are confirmed.

You can also read more about the Covid-19 Study Disruption Payment Scheme at the Department for the Economy web pages.


Processing Payment

Please note that any mass payment of this kind can be vulnerable to opportunistic scams such as Phishing - a method used by fraudsters to access valuable personal details, such as usernames and passwords and other data.

Unsuspecting recipients could receive emails with malicious links or attachments.

Please take care and be alert to activity of this kind over the coming weeks.

  • How and when will the Covid 19 Disruption Payment be made?

    COVID-19 Disruption Payment will be issued to students by the University on behalf of the Department for the Economy and we are working hard to establish the most appropriate, speedy and safe mechanisms to do this.

    We will confirm these arrangements as soon as we can and will make every effort to issue the COVID disruption payment by the end of March 2021.

Other Support Measures

These other support measures are made possible by the Department for the Economy’s financial support package, in recognition of the significant challenges faced by university students during the pandemic.

These payments reflect the commitment to provide assistance to those students in most financial need; and those who were excluded from the initial COVID Disruption Payment under the criteria set by the Department.

In determining these payments we have adapted our well-established criteria for financial support measures and permission from students to hold and use relevant data for your benefit, including household income as verified by the Student Loans Company.

  • COVID-19 Bursary

    An additional COVID-19 Bursary of £495 will be issued to full-time undergraduate Home/UK/EU students whose NI household income is lower than the NI median.  We are writing to all students eligible for this payment and it will be paid directly into the student’s bank account around 18th June.

  • COVID-19 Education Grant

    A COVID-19 Education Grant of £495 will be issued to part-time students in receipt of a tuition fee grant, and registered with Ulster University in February 2021. Eligible students will be contacted directly.

    In order to process this payment we will require these students to share their bank details with us via a secure form which will be sent to the student’s University email account.

    The form will facilitate the capture of details of both UK and Non UK Bank Accounts. On receipt of these details, eligible part time students can expect to receive this payment into their account within 4 working days. Students can be reassured that as this is a grant for study, it does not impact upon any means tested benefits.

  • Eligibility

    Eligibility is determined by the provision of NI household income that you may have declared during your Student Finance NI annual application process. Where parental or household income is notified via the application process, SFNI shares some personal and financial information with the University to enable us to assess the student’s eligibility for bursaries or scholarships.

    It is the availability of this information which enables us to assess eligibility for the other support measures made possible by the Department for the Economy Support Package.

    If you did not choose to share your household income information when you submitted your Student Finance application, you can do so by contacting your local Student Finance Northern Ireland/SFE office.

Accommodation Support

Accessing Other Support

  • How else can I access financial or other wellbeing support from the University?

    We understand this is still a difficult time for all students and our Student Wellbeing team is on hand to help, and all services are fully available online, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you need us.

    The team provides a range of services to support your wellbeing including mental health, disability advice, money and budgeting advice, as well as administering support funds for students in financial difficulty.

    Remember, if you have been financially impacted by COVID-19 or are experiencing financial hardship, you can find out more about accessing financial support contact our money advice web pages.