Students who are in financial hardship once they are attending University may apply to the University Hardship Fund for support.
The University Hardship Fund may be used to help students in financial hardship. It is a very limited fund, and there are strict eligibility criteria.
The University Hardship Fund may support students who:
- had a sound financial plan in place before they started their studies for the entirety of their studies;
- AND had a sound financial plan in place before they started the academic year in which their application is being considered, which was then compromised by circumstances beyond their control;
- OR whose income from statutory support does not cover a reasonable level of expenditure for their personal circumstances (where the student does not already hold an undergraduate degree, and where the student did not start their studies in the knowledge that they had significant extra costs which would not be covered by statutory support);
- AND who are not able to access income from any other reasonable source;
- AND who do not require more than £3,500 to complete their studies or to end their studies at a logical point e.g. the end of an academic year
- AND who have a shortfall between their income and the minimum evel of expenditure for their personal circumstances according to the Assessment Procedure.
In exceptional circumstances the University Hardship Fund may be used to support students whose financial plan was compromised by circumstances beyond their control before the start of the academic year in which their application is being considered. The University Hardship Fund will only be used to support these students if they had a sound financial plan in place before they started their studies which was then compromised by circumstances beyond their control, and if they meet all of the other eligibility criteria.
As well as supporting students who meet the criteria set out above, the University Hardship Fund may be used to:
- provide Short-term Loans in the event of unexpected occurrences which negatively impact on students’ finances (e.g. delays to Maintenance Loans / Research Council stipend payments / US Federal Aid / other funding);
- provide Bridging Loans to students whose applications for financial support cannot be assessed until outstanding information is provided;
- provide Discretionary Loans to students who would have to withdraw from the University without financial support (at the discretion of the panel where all of the eligibility criteria are not met).
The University Hardship Fund is intended to provide the minimum necessary amount of monetary support to enable students to either complete their studies, or to reach a logical point at which to end their studies, depending on the point at which they applied for financial support and their level of need.
The University Hardship Fund is not used merely to provide immediate monetary solutions to students’ financial difficulties. Financial support is provided to students through the college system, and as such is fully integrated into the pastoral support available to students of the University. Therefore, students whose financial difficulties are symptomatic of other problems, or students who need pastoral support in addition to financial support, are provided with a “package” of support appropriate to their needs. The University Hardship Fund also seeks to improve applicants' financial capability where necessary, preparing applicants for managing their money after university.
All students of Durham University may apply to the University Hardship Fund, including postgraduate, part-time and distance-learning students.