Back off Blackbullion
Recently, the Big Idea 'Back off with Blackbullion' was passed by Students’ Council and became policy within the Union. We are now pleased to announce that the University has agreed to remove completion of the Blackbullion module as a requirement before students are able to apply for the Hardship Fund.
Following our research and input from Students’ Council members, the policy concluded that having to complete the Blackbullion module as part of applying for financial support was often frustrating and disheartening for students.
Students' Council members also raised how the module could have a negative impact on students’ mental health, and that financial hardship was often not a result of poor money management; especially throughout the pandemic; but during more ‘normal’ times also. There are many factors that can influence a person’s financial stability.
The Big Idea acknowledged that Blackbullion can be a useful financial education tool, but recognised that it should not be used as a barrier, or a ‘hoop’ for students to jump through, by the University.
As your Students’ Union, we want to make all areas of student support easier to access, and The Big Idea was in-line with this goal.
The Students’ Council passed the Big Idea unanimously, in favour of removing the ‘hurdles’ between students and support.
Your Students’ Union then began to campaign in order to ensure:
- The University makes the Blackbullion Budgeting module not mandatory, and makes this clear to students in their funding applications, and to those who approve cases. Cases should not be turned down due to students not engaging with the module.
- All staff involved with student hardship cases undergo training around mental health and finances and appropriate guidance is put in place for application discussions with students.
- The University factors the rental expenditure of students on a case-by-case basis.
- The Blackbullion module is advertised to all students at the beginning of the year.
No that the University has agreed to remove completion of the Blackbullion module as a requirement before students are able to apply for the Hardship Fund, we are pleased that the Big Idea has already made a difference to University procedures. We look forward to campaigning for the other key points of the Big Idea, including staff training and case-by-case assessments.
Your Students’ Union President Zuleikha said:
“We are pleased the University have listened to feedback regarding students completing the compulsory BlackBullion module before applying for financial support. COVID-19 has presented many challenges for students and those reaching out in desperate need are not doing so because they don’t know how to budget, but because they do not know where their next meal is coming from. There are other places where we can introduce the module as students navigate their University experience and we are having those conversations with the University.”
This year, the Students' Council will be holding an additional meeting, on the 28th April. Head over to our Big Ideas page to submit your Big Idea and help to make positive change for all UCLan students.