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Student Finance

University Hardship Fund

What is the University Hardship Fund?

The University Hardship Fund is provided by Durham University for its students.  It is intended to support students who are not eligible for support from the Access to Learning Fund, who had a sound financial plan in place before they started their studies which was then compromised by circumstances beyond their control and who are not able to access income from any other reasonable source apart from the University Hardship Fund.

Am I eligible to apply to the University Hardship Fund?

In order to be eligible for support from the Universtity Hardship Fund students have to:

  • have had a sound financial plan in place before they started their studies;
  • which was then compromised by circumstances beyond their control;
  • be unable to access sufficient income from any other reasonable source (e.g. parents, charitable grant, loan with reasonable interest rate, part-time work).

Because the University Hardship Fund is limited we are unfortunately only able to support students if the amount they need to receive from the University Hardship Fund is less than £3,500 (this may be increased slightly in exceptional circumstances). 

Defining a Sound Financial Plan

In order to demonstrate a sound financial plan when applying for financial support from the University Hardship Fund applicants are required to provide documentary evidence.  Documentary evidence may include a combination of the following.  Other documentary evidence applicable to the applicant's particular circumstances may be requested.

  • a letter from a family member or other sponsor confirming that they arranged to fund the applicant's studies, but are now unable to due to a change in their financial circumstances;
  • a letter from a sponsor or funding body dated before the start of the applicant's studies confirming funding, accompanied by a further letter confirming the withdrawal of funding;
  • a written job offer from an enployer dated before the start of the applicant's studies confirming a job with sufficient income to fund the applicant's studies, accompanied by a further letter confirming termination of employment;
  • a copy of a bank statement dated before the start of the applicant's studies showing sufficient savings to fund their studies, accompanied by documentary evidence of expenditure of these savings on unforeseen essential costs other than their studies.

The University reserves the right to refuse financial support where there is is reasonable doubt as to the veracity of any documentary evidence provided.

An applicant who planned to fund their studies by finding part-time work, but who did not obtain such work before the start of their studies or properly research the possibility of doing so, will not be considered to have had a sound financial plan in place before the start of their studies.

How do I apply to the University Hardship Fund?

Please contact the Senior Tutor or Student Support Officer in your College to apply to the University Hardship Fund.  You will have to fill in a Financial Support Application Form and provide various supporting documents including the three most recent monthly bank statements from all of your bank accounts.  Your Senior Tutor or Student Support Officer is available to help with any queries you have whilst filling in your application form, and also for confidential advice and support if you want to talk through your financial / personal circumstances.

How is my application to the University Hardship Assessed?

The assessment process for the University Hardship Fund is quite complicated.  The summary below gives a brief overview, but you should not use it as a basis to try and work out what award you are likely to get.  Your College will assess your application, with support from the Student Financial Support Office if yours is a complicated case or if your award is likely to be greater than £2,000, and will notify the Student Financial Support Office of your award.  The Student Financial Support Office will pay your award, usually into your bank account, but sometimes directly to the University if you have outstanding debts to the University.  You will receive an email from the Student Financial Support Office confirming how much your award is and when it will be paid.

Once the assessor has confirmed that you are eligible for support from the University Hardship Fund and checked your application and supporting documentation to see if ithere are any gaps they will carry out a "Non-Standard Assessment Procedure".

The Non-Standard Assessment Procedure

The Non-Standard Assessment Procedure compares the income you will receive between the day you submitted your application for financial support and the day the academic year finishes, and your essential expenditure  between the day you submitted your application for financial support and the day the academic year finishes.  If there is a shortfall you may receive a grant if you meet the University Hardship Fund eligibility criteria.

Essential Expenditure

 2009/10 Essential Expenditure Allowances

£ per Week

College Accommodation

As Charged

Private Rented Accommodation (Durham students sharing)

£66.50

Private Rented Accommodation (Durham students not sharing)

£203.00

Private Rented Accommodation (Queen's Campus students sharing)

£51.25

Private Rented Accommodation (Queen's Campus students not sharing)

£102.50

Contents Insurance

£2.05

Privately Owned Accommodation (Mortgage and Buildings Insurance)

£207.20

Council Tax

Enter in Full

Food and Household Shopping (per member of household)

£31.80

Utilities (Gas, Electricity, Water)

£10.55

Telephone (per adult member of household)

£4.05

Travel (UG)

£10.50

Travel (PG)

£15.75

Leisure (per adult member of household)

£28.70

Leisure (per child)

£11.00

Clothing (per member of household)

£3.95

Laundry (students in College)

£3.10

Toiletries (per member of household)

£3.95

Childcare (one child)

£180.00

Childcare (two or more children)

£307.50

Course Costs (FT UG)

£8.15

Course Costs (PT UG)

£4.10

Course Costs (FT PG)

£8.15

Course Costs (PT PG)

£4.10

Additional Cost of Living Allowance (Standard Assessment Procedure Only)

£11.50