Student hardship funding

Student hardship funding

The University and the College have hardship funds which can be made available as either a loan (from the College) or a grant (from the University) to current students who find themselves unexpectedly and unforeseeably in financial need. 

If you are experiencing financial difficulties, please read our advice and help with financial matters page first.

University Hardship Fund awards College hardship loans Eligibility for hardship funding How to apply When to apply

University Hardship Fund awards

The amount of the University Hardship Fund awards vary depending on the Committee's view of an individual student's circumstances. The maximum award is £5,000; awards at this level are usually made as a combination of a grant and a loan. Our experience has been that the success rate to the University Hardship Fund is low.

Applications are accepted every term; please see the section on How to apply

UK students will need to apply to the Access to Learning Fund before applying to the University Hardship Fund. 

College hardship loans

College hardship loans also vary depending on the circumstances which have led to the hardship.

If you are experiencing short-term cashflow problems, the College Hardship Committee will consider ad hoc applications for short-term hardship loans. Such short-term loans are usually for no more than £500 and are normally repayble within a year. Please contact the College Registrar for details about the types of circumstances which may lead to a successful short-term loan application, and what you need to do to apply.

The College Hardship Committee will also consider longer term loan requests for higher amounts. 

College hardship loans are interest free for an agreed length of time. Non-payment or late payment may incur interest charges.

Eligibility for hardship funding

The University's eligibility criteria are also used by the College. Please read these carefully.

Awards will not be made to the following groups of students:

  • Non-matriculated including Visiting students.
  • Students who are not currently enrolled. This includes suspended and lapsed students.
  • Research students who have submitted their thesis. This includes students who are resubmitting.
  • Home (UK) postgraduates who have not first applied to the Access to Learning Fund.
  • Students who do not appear to have a funding shortfall. Assessments are made on the basis of a comparison of a student’s income for the current academic year with the University’s lower range figure of estimated living costs.

Awards will not normally be made to the following groups of students (only points related to graduates are copied)

  • Students undertaking a nine month or one year course.
  • Students whose situation is financially unsustainable. The Committee needs to be assured that students have sufficient funding in place for the remainder of their course.
  • Students who have already received assistance from the University Hardship Fund.
  • Students who are applying for assistance with a funding deficit in the next academic year. These students should be asked to reapply at the start of the next academic year.
  • Students who are beyond their fourth year of study.

Definition of unexpected circumstances

The following circumstances are not considered unexpected and will not result in an award:

  • Students who, in the opinion of the Committee, did not have adequate funding at the outset of their course.
  • Research students whose funding has run out before they are ready to submit their thesis. The Committee does not normally consider this to be sufficient grounds for an award as it is expected that students will have made provision for the realistic length of their studies. However, the Committee is able to use its discretion in deciding individual cases where research has been disrupted for reasons beyond a student’s control.
  • Students who have been affected by fluctuations in exchange rates. The Committee will generally only consider awards where this has been catastrophic or combined with other circumstances.
  • Students applying for financial assistance with their research and/or fieldwork. These are normally part of projected course costs so are not considered unexpected.
  • Students who are unable to obtain paid employment unless a contract was in place prior to commencing their studies.
  • Students who need assistance in repaying debts which were in existence prior to start of their course. It is expected that students will have taken these debts into account when deciding whether they can afford their studies.
  • Assistance will not normally be given to support maternity or paternity leave for children born whilst a student is on course, unless there are exceptional circumstances.
  • Students who require funding to replace damaged or stolen belongings will be expected to report losses to the police and make any insurance claims before applying to the University Hardship Fund.
  • Students whose parents or sponsors have allegedly withdrawn their support unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Dependants (spouse/partner/children)

It is expected that all students will have made full provision for themselves and their family before beginning their studies. Expenditure associated with dependants will therefore not normally be included in the assessment of a student's finances unless there are exceptional circumstances. Students who are applying for assistance with costs relating to their dependants, such as childcare costs, will need to itemise this in their supporting statement and explain why they believe this should be included.

How to apply

One application form is used for students who wish to be considered for a College hardship loan and/or the University Hardship Fund. Application forms are available from the College Registrar.

Students wishing to apply for a short-term hardship loan from the College should contact the College Registrar for advice about what to include in your letter of application.

When to apply

Hardship funding deadlines are:

  • Michaelmas Term: 12pm UK time, Friday of 2nd week
  • Hilary Term: 12pm UK time, Friday of 2nd week
  • Trinity Term: 12pm UK time, Friday of 0th week

This is the deadline for receipt of your completed application including receipt of a reference from your supervisor to reach the College Registrar.