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Sussex alumni helping students in a time of unprecedented need

NSS - students studying

Students in a seminar

It has been truly heart-warming to see so many Sussex alumni come forward to offer help and support to our students and the University in this difficult time. Whether through bespoke support, or gifts made to the Sussex Fund, we hugely appreciate your generosity and the community spirit that lies behind it. Perhaps most importantly, you are enabling a comprehensive package of support for our students in their hour of need.

Over the last few weeks, thousands of UK and international students have returned to their homes at short notice, travelling from campus or from placements and field research projects around the world. At the same time, up to 1000 students have remained on campus – some cannot return home due to travel restrictions or have family members who are most vulnerable to coronavirus and some have nowhere else to go.

A great deal of care is being taken to ensure that those students in campus residences are being well looked after by our support teams - and the University Chef is supplying meals to students who are self-isolating. Meanwhile, we have assured those who have left campus accommodation because of the outbreak that their rent for the remainder of the year will be waived.

As you may know from you own experience at Sussex, many of our students are used to financing their living costs through part time jobs as part of the gig economy. They now find themselves out of work and some are struggling to make ends meet. This is especially hard for those who are care leavers or who are carers themselves and so may not have family networks that they can rely on for financial support.

With an increasing demand for support from students who are struggling financially due to the pandemic, hardship bursaries through the Sussex Fund are supplementing existing hardship grants to offer a lifeline to a growing number of students who don’t qualify for government support or have no one else to turn to. The bursaries are enabling students to have access to basic necessities and helping them travel to their homes.

It is thanks to the generosity of alumni who make regular donations to the Sussex Fund that we are able to provide this lifeline. We are currently awarding more hardship bursaries than ever before and we expect the need to grow throughout this period of unprecedented upheaval.

In recent weeks, amidst the sadness and the worry we have seen so many examples of kindness and communities coming together to support each other and share the load. We cannot thank you enough for your kind offers of help and for giving our students most in need a vital lifeline through the Sussex Fund.

By: Sally Atkinson
Last updated: Tuesday, 7 April 2020