Coronavirus (COVID-19) information

This page provides answers to your questions relating to coronavirus (COVID-19) and Chevening.

If you are a 2019/2020 Chevening Scholar or Fellow still in the UK, you can find dedicated advice here. For all other individuals, select from the following options for frequently asked questions relating to you.

If there is anything that you do not feel we have covered in our emails, the website or in these FAQ’s, please contact your Programme Officer.

Changes to the Chevening Scholarship programme in 2020/2021

If you have been chosen for Chevening this year, you should be aware of changes to the programme and consider how they apply to your situation.

We know that 2020/2021 will be an exceptional year. COVID-19 has changed how people around the world work, study, and travel. At Chevening, we are adapting to these changes by making our scholarships more flexible this year. Your Chevening experience may be a little different, but the most important parts will remain the same: you will be studying at a world-class university as part of an extraordinary community of future leaders from over 160 countries and territories.

How has COVID-19 impacted the Chevening programme?

We have worked to adapt the Chevening programme to the challenges posed by COVID-19, offering our scholars more flexibility where needed. The Chevening cohort will be smaller overall in the 2020/2021 academic year. Nonetheless, we are proud that we are still able to offer a global scholarship programme and that the next year of Chevening Scholars will have a rich experience at world-class universities in the UK. We look forward to welcoming all our offer holders to the programme in the autumn.

How will COVID-19 affect my university experience?

The Chevening team and universities across the UK are working hard to ensure that your experience will be rich, rewarding, and productive. Many universities are moving to a mixture of smaller, socially distanced, in-person seminars and discussion groups, plus larger online lectures.

Studying for a UK master’s degree may look different for 2020/2021 scholars, particularly during the first term. Universities are constantly developing their plans to ensure that students can have the best possible experience, while prioritising their safety and wellbeing.

UK degrees are quality assured, whether they are delivered in person or online. There are fantastic and innovative examples of high-quality online learning being delivered by institutions across the UK.  At the same time, the Chevening Secretariat will continue to deliver its exciting programme of scholar events and networking opportunities digitally until circumstances permit a transition to in-person events.

We are all adapting to a changing world and we’re excited for our next cohort of scholars to join us on this journey.

Is it safe and will I have access to health care when I’m in the UK?

The UK is a safe place to study, and UK universities are prioritising students’ safety and wellbeing.

The UK higher education sector has gone above and beyond to ensure that international students’ physical and mental health are prioritised. If you have any questions about the services you can access at your university, you should get in touch with your university directly.

The UK’s world-renowned National Health Service (NHS) has taken care of people from around the world during this pandemic and will continue to do so. You will be able to access NHS services in addition to support from your university – the same as UK students. Chevening pays your Immigration Health Surcharge, which gives you access to the NHS.

What will happen if there is a local outbreak of COVID-19 at my university?

Universities are well prepared for a local outbreak, and over the summer, the Department for Education has worked with universities to help them draw up plans for measures in the event cases rise on campus or locally.

DFE has published guidance setting out advice on local outbreaks at universities. Students will be asked to self-isolate if an instance of COVID-19 has been identified on campus, to ensure the protection and wellbeing of all students and staff.  If students need to self-isolate, universities will do all they can to ensure they are safe and well looked after.

My university is switching to online teaching, what should I do?

Please speak to your university and department for more information about their plans to moving teaching and assessments online. Find out more about what online learning looks like in a UK university.

What if I can’t travel to the UK?

Our goal is to give our scholars access to a world-class master’s and a chance to experience UK culture. We know that travel restrictions could mean that you have to begin this experience online from your home country this autumn, so we are adding flexibility to our awards which will support you to do this. If travel restrictions prevent you from travelling to the UK and you can begin studying your course online, you will still be eligible for your Chevening Award.

We want you to be able to fully experience UK culture and make use of your universities’ facilities as soon as possible, so we expect you to travel to the UK once travel restrictions are lifted, even if you then continue to study for some or all of your programme online. You will need to sign a Remote Learning Agreement to confirm that you are studying while based in your home country and that you will travel to the UK as soon as you can.

The UK government is continuing to monitor worldwide border, travel, and public health restrictions, and will resume normal services for visa applications as soon as possible. As local restrictions lift and application centres reopen, UKVI will process applications as quickly as possible.

Will I still receive a stipend to cover my living costs if I start my programme online while living in my home country?

If you start your course online in your home country, you will still receive a stipend to cover your living expenses in your home country. The stipend rate will be different for the weeks you spend at home rather than in the UK. This is because of differences in living costs around the world. The stipend is designed to cover your living costs while you are at home, and other costs such as personal health insurance. Your stipend rate will be based on rates set by other government agencies and following consultation with the British embassy or high commission in your home country/territory.

Can I defer my award for a year?

Applications to defer awards will be granted in the case of pregnancy, as usual.

We recognise that COVID-19 may mean that some candidates are unable to take up their awards in 2020/2021. Requests to defer a Chevening Award to 2021/2022 will be considered for a limited number of reasons specific to COVID-19, including:

  • You are a key worker, working on the frontline of the COVID-19 response.
  • You have a health condition which puts you at high risk of COVID-19. Please consult the National Health Service’s (NHS) list of conditions here, under the heading ‘People at high risk (clinically extremely vulnerable)’.
  • A close relative has passed away due to COVID-19. Note that we consider close relatives to be a spouse, civil or registered partner, child or step-child, parent, sibling, step-parent, legal guardian, or other legally recognised next-of-kin.

Please contact your Programme Officer if you have questions about deferrals.

If you don’t meet the criteria for deferrals, but do not wish to accept your award, you will still be able to apply again next year with no detriment to your application.

Do I still need to take an English language test?

The Chevening English language requirement has been removed for 2020/2021 applicants. You do not need to provide evidence of English language ability to be eligible for your Chevening Award.

However, you will still need to meet the requirements of your chosen university and secure an unconditional offer from one of your three course choices.

Will I have to quarantine when I get to the UK?

International visitors to the UK are required to quarantine for two weeks in their accommodation when they arrive in the UK. We are working with UK universities to ensure that you will get the support you need if you are required to quarantine upon arrival later in the year, and will keep you updated on what you may need to do upon arrival.

FAQs for Chevening Fellows not yet on award

I am a Chevening Fellow and I’m due to start my award soon. Will my fellowship still go ahead as scheduled?

At this current time, we are liaising closely with local British embassies/high commissions, the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, and host institutions to make arrangements for Chevening Fellowships due to commence soon.

As information regarding this topic is updated, it will be communicated to awardees directly via email. Please continue to check your emails regularly for updates.

We thank you for your understanding and ongoing patience during this time.

I have been selected a reserve candidate for a Chevening Fellowship but I have not heard if I have been upgraded, what should I do?

We are continuing to work with Chevening Fellowship host institutions and discuss next steps for the delivery of all programmes impacted by COVID-19. You will be contacted by the Chevening Secretariat to confirm if you have been upgraded as soon as possible, and we thank you for your continued patience in the meantime.

FAQs for Chevening Alumni

I am a 2018/2019 scholar (a new alumnus) still in the UK. I am unable to return home but my visa is expiring/has expired. What do I do?

Please read the government’s advice to temporary residents on visas that expired between 24 January and 31 July 2020.

You are expected to take all reasonable steps to leave the UK where it is possible to do so. If you are unable to return home and you have a visa or leave that is expires between 1 September and 31 October 2020, you may request additional time to stay. Please contact [email protected] for support.

I haven’t been able to complete my CAPF project this year due to coronavirus (COVID-19). What should I do?

We understand that the current situation may make it difficult for you to complete any remaining activities or events from your 2019/2020 CAPF project. If this is the case, please speak to the Chevening contact at your local British embassy or high commission as soon as possible so that they can provide you with further information.

When will I hear about the results of this year’s CAPF bids?

We are aware that CAPF decisions for the 2020/2021 financial year still need to be communicated and ask for your patience as we prioritise the ongoing crisis.

How can I support other members of the Chevening community?

Thank you to all of you who are reaching out to support other Cheveners during this period. Please keep in touch with alumni and scholars you know to find out how they are doing and offer a friendly ear.

If you are not yet part of your local alumni group, get in touch using the details on our website so that you can join in with what they are doing.

Please also join or log into our online channels – Chevening Connect, Facebook, and LinkedIn where you can connect with other alumni remotely, and also keep in touch with us at the Secretariat.

I want to start a project with other alumni to support those affected by coronavirus (COVID-19). Can I use the Chevening brand?

We are encouraged to see many alumni wanting to work together to support those affected by coronavirus. If you want to use Chevening branding for an alumni-run project, please email [email protected], outlining the project and the branding that you would need. We will respond to you as soon as possible. Only approved requests may use Chevening branding.

Will the Secretariat remain open during these turbulent times?

All Secretariat staff (including the Chevening Alumni team) are now working from home. We’d still love to hear from you if you have good news to share, or stories about alumni working through the current situation together. You can contact us via email on [email protected] and we will respond as soon as possible.