STUDENTS at Essex University will be able to pause paying rent on their accommodation while they have to study from home.

It comes as ministers and university leaders are facing calls to offer rent rebates to students amid the lockdown.

The Government has said the majority of students will not be allowed to return to campus until at least mid-February and will be expected to study from their current residence.

Essex University has moved to what is know as ‘advanced protection’ where only essential services are delivered on campus.

The university said it would keep a return date under close review.

In a letter to students Richard Stock, academic registrar, said: “We have provided substantial flexibility to students allocated rooms in university-owned and managed accommodation, so that they have been able to defer taking up their tenancies or to pause them for periods when residents have chosen to study away from campus.

“We will maintain this flexible approach during the period of advanced protection, so that students don’t pay for accommodation before they have moved in, or during periods when their tenancy is paused.

“This flexible approach provides a fair means of recognising the impact of changes in study patterns on students in university accommodation.”

The National Union of Students (NUS) had called it “unacceptable” students were having to pay towards accommodation after being told not to travel.