September 2 2021: COVID-19 Update for Research Students

COVID be kind

Kia ora research student

Aotearoa/New Zealand (and Auckland in particular) waits in hope that Covid cases will continue to decline. In the meantime, Auckland stays under alert Level 4 until midnight Sept 13 at this stage, with the expectation of a period of alert level 3 for some time after that.  

We encourage you to work with your supervisors on considering how you can continue progressing your work during this period. But, if you are significantly disrupted, you may apply for a Leave of Absence (LOA) via a PGR6 form. A LOA effectively ‘stops the clock’ on your enrolment in acknowledgement that you are not able to actively progress with you studies.

If you are granted a leave of absence, you do not pay tuition fees for that period. Ordinarily, a LOA should be for a minimum of 2 months, but these are not ordinary times, so you may apply for a LOA for a minimum period of 1 month for circumstances related to this lockdown.

The LOA application (via the PGR6 form) will require you to detail specifically how your progress has been compromised, and you will need a supporting statement from your primary supervisor.

It is possible to apply for the LOA retrospectively, so if it transpires over the next few weeks that you realise your progress has been seriously affected, you may still apply for the LOA for the relevant period. 

Some further aspects to consider:

  • If you are on an AUT Scholarship including a stipend, normally the stipend would be suspended for the LOA period. But, if you are experiencing hardship an application may be made for special permission to continue the scholarship over the LOA period. This would then exclude you applying for a scholarship extension due to Covid at a later stage. Please seek specific advice on this from the Scholarships Office
  • If you are an International student on a student visa, you should seek specific advice on the implications of a LOA on your visa status. A certain period of LOA is allowable (3 months over a 12 month period), but informed advice should be sought from the Student Hub
  • For students with loans covering living costs and course related costs, it is also important that you seek advice from StudyLink  regarding the implications of any potential LOA.

This chapter of the pandemic will challenge resilience. The Graduate Research School will do all it can to support your research progress, and accommodate specifically identified impacts.

Kia kaha

Graduate Research School team

About Graduate Research School (Auckland University of Technology)

The Auckland University of Technology Graduate Research School offers support and resources to all postgraduate students at AUT. Come and visit us on the 5th floor of the WU building.

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