Coronavirus (COVID-19) information

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

Changes to the Chevening Scholarship programme in 2020/2021

We know that 2020/2021 will be an extraordinary 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.

NEW: What restrictions are in place as a result of COVID-19?

International students will be aware that on Monday 4th January 2021 the Prime Minister announced a third national lockdown for England, to reduce transmission of COVID-19 cases.

Find out what you can and cannot do. 

NEW: In light of new restrictions introduced to the UK in January 2021, can I return to my home country and complete my studies there? 

The top priority for everyone at the moment is to reduce the further spread of the virus. For this reason, new guidance released by the UK government on 7 January has advised that students currently living in their university term-time accommodation should remain where they are. In line with this advice, you are advised not to travel. By staying where you are, you will be helping to reduce the transmission of the virus. We know that this is a responsibility you take seriously.  

UK universities have put in place robust measures to make campuses safe, and the safety and wellbeing of students remain their top priority. Our welfare team are also on hand to help you access help and support in the UK. 

We do recognise that this situation will be particularly hard for some of our scholars. Your wellbeing is very important to us, and for that reason, we are introducing more flexibility for scholars experiencing significant difficulty, for example with their mental health, to return to their home country and to complete their scholarship remotely if they wish to do so. If you do choose to return home, we will continue to support you with a locally adjusted stipend, and you will still be a Chevening Scholar with access to our online events and community.  

We hope that this will provide flexibility for any of you who are struggling. Please get in touch with your PO to find out more about this option. Chevening will:  

  • Cover the costs of your flight home. This means we will not be able to pay for you to return to the UK once restrictions are lifted.  
  • Adjust your stipend to reflect the living costs in your home country. Your stipend will change once you have returned home.  

We expect you to:  

  • Consider whether it is essential you return home, and we ask you to take into account the risks of Covid-19 both to yourself and others. 
  • Ensure that you will be able to complete the remainder of your course online, and that you have approval from your university to leave the UK and will not need to return e.g. to sit exams in person. 
  • Consider any financial implications of receiving an adjusted stipend once you have returned home (for example, your UK accommodation contract).
  • Sign a remote learning agreement, confirming that you will continue to study remotely and receive a local stipend. 
  • Book your Chevening-funded homeward flight via Diversity. Chevening will not fund any further travel should you wish to return to the UK at any point. 

Please do not take any action until you have spoken with your PO, who will be able to discuss the options with you. 

Do I have access to health care while 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.

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 move teaching and assessments online.

Find out more about what online learning looks like in a UK university.

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 of 2020, the Department for Education worked with universities to help them draw up plans for measures in the event cases rise on campus or locally.

The UK government’s Department for Education has published guidance setting out advice on local outbreaks at universities. Students will be asked to self-isolate if instances of COVID-19 are 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.

Please make sure you familiarise yourself your universities’ provisions. Your university will have plans in place should there be a local lockdown, so please ensure you read any communications from your university thoroughly and get in touch with them if you aren’t sure.

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.

Do I need to quarantine when I get to the UK?

International visitors to the UK are required to quarantine for ten days 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 conditionally selected for a Chevening Fellowship but I have not heard from my Programme Officer yet, what should I do?

You may notice a slight delay between being notified that you have been selected for a Chevening Fellowship and receiving information regarding the next steps in the process from your Programme Officer. This is because the Fellowships team at the Chevening Secretariat are preparing your Conditional Award Letter (CAL) pack.

Your Programme Officer will be in touch with you as soon as possible. We thank you for your 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?

If an award becomes available you may be selected to participate in a Chevening Fellowship. You will be notified by email in the first instance. If you have not been successful on this occasion then we will email you in due course to confirm this. We thank you for your patience.

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 of local alumni groups 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.