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Student Finance

What is Financial Hardship?

You might be reading this page and wondering "what is financial hardship?" or "am I in financial hardship?", or even "how do I know if I'm in financial hardship?".  Everyone's definition of financial hardship is different, and the eligibility criteria for applying to the different sources of financial support mentioned on this web site are all different, but some broad definitions are given below.

If you can't afford to pay for your College accommodation, or can't pay your bills and buy food or meet other essential costs, see the Senior Tutor or Student Support Officer in your College immediately.  Even if you think you do not meet the criteria to receive monetary support there are other sources of help available. 

If you are working part-time to pay for your College accommodation, or to pay your bills, buy food or meet other essential costs, and it is affecting your academic work, your health or your emotional well-being, you should also see the Senior Tutor or Student Support Officer in your College immediately.  

Undergraduates with a first degree, Postgraduates and International Students

Please note that undergraduate students who already have a first degree, home postgraduates and all international students are expected to have made arrangements to pay their tuition fees and meet their living and course costs for the entirety of their studies before they started their studies (called "having a sound financial plan").  Undergraduates with a first degree, home postgraduates and all international students are usually only defined as being in financial hardship if they had a sound financial plan in place before they started their studies, which was compromised by circumstances beyond their control.

Other Undergraduates

Broadly speaking, home undergraduate students are defined as being in financial hardship if they do not have sufficient income from statutory support to meet a reasonable level of expenditure for their personal circumstances.  These students are usually eligible for a grant from the Access to Learning Fund.  The Access to Learning Fund guidance, which is set by the government, defines "a reasonable level of expenditure" for students as being equal to the amount that someone in the same circumstances would receive in the form of benefits from the Department of Work and Pensions if they were not a student, plus some extra allowances for student-specific costs.  The "reasonable expenditure figures" are quite low, so usually only students with extra costs, such as childcare costs and costs arising from a disability which are not met by statutory support, or students with particular circumstances which mean that they have a reduced income or extra costs, are eligible for grants from the Access to Learning Fund.

According to the Access to Learning Fund guidance, you are in financial hardship if you have less to spend per week than the table below shows.

 

Student Type

2009/10 "Reasonable Expenditure Figures"

Accommodation

Costs

Other Living Costs*

Course Costs

Childcare

Costs

Disabilty Costs

Single student (catered college accommodation)

As charged by College

£24 per week

 

£8.15 per week

N/A

All costs incurred

Single student (self-catering college accommodation)

As charged by College

£56 per week

 

£8.15 per week

N/A

All costs incurred

Single student (privately owned/rented accommodation)

£66.50 per week

£66 per week

 

£8.15 per week

N/A

All costs incurred

Single student with 1 child

 

£203 per week

£142 per week

 

£8.15 per week

£212 per week

All costs incurred

Single student with 2 children

£203 per week

£200 per week

 

£8.15 per week

£362 per week

All costs incurred

Student with partner and 1 child

£203 per week

£180 per week

 

£8.15 per week

£212 per week

All costs incurred

Student with partner and 2 children

£203 per week

£238 per week

 

£8.15 per week

£362 per week

All costs incurred