Coronavirus (COVID-19) information

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

[NEW] 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 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.

What if my chosen course isn’t running?

If a university informs you that one of your course choices will not be running in the 2020/2021 academic year or has changed significantly in format (for example, it has merged with another course or will only be starting in January), you can choose one of your other two choices or an alternative course to replace it. The course must be Chevening eligible and in the same subject area as the courses agreed at your interview. Please note that courses starting in January are not eligible.

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 was 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 and Commonwealth 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.

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?

The Home Office has published guidance on GOV.UK on immigration provisions for individuals affected by travel restrictions associated with coronavirus (COVID-19).

No individual who is in the UK legally, but whose visa is due to, or has already expired, and who cannot leave because of travel restrictions related to COVID-19, will be regarded as an overstayer, or suffer any detriment in the future.

Please read the government’s advice to temporary residents on visas due to expire between 24 January and 31 May 2020. Please take all necessary action as set out in the advice.

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.

What options are available to scholars and fellows currently on award in the UK?

We know that this is a worrying time for our scholars and fellows in the UK and that there is a lot of information to digest. Current scholars and fellows can return to their home countries if they wish to and are able to do so, and Chevening will cover the reasonable cost of an economy flight.

UK universities are currently working hard to continue to deliver teaching online, enabling scholars to finish their award through distance learning.

How is the Secretariat supporting current scholars and fellows?

All scholars and fellows in the UK have been contacted via email with information about the support available to them during this time. We also have a dedicated page with information for current awardees. Scholars with specific concerns relating to their award can contact their Programme Officer – UK, who will be happy to help.

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 communications@chevening.org, 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 now that the UK has entered lockdown?

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 alumni@chevening.org and we will respond as soon as possible.

FAQs for current Chevening Scholars or Fellows in the UK

I am a current Chevening Scholar or Fellow in the UK. Where can I find information about how coronavirus (COVID-19) affects me and my award?

We have a dedicated page that is being updated regularly on our website here. You will find further information about your award, travel, and your overall wellbeing on this page.

Please also check your emails regularly for specific information which will be communicated to you directly.

I have been conditionally selected for a Chevening Fellowship but I have not heard from my Programme Officer yet, 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. The Chevening Secretariat will contact you with any significant updates as soon as more information is available. In the meantime, we thank you for your continued patience.

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.


Last updated: 23 July 2020