Student Life Centre

Hardship Fund Principles and Priorities

Hardship Principles

All hardship fund applications are assessed using the same principles


How it informs practice

Ease of Access

Application processes should be accessible to all eligible students

Clarity and transparency for colleagues and students about resources and processes

Visibility of advertising and communications to students are reduced in light of minimal funding, so as not to raise expectations

Awards will be made alongside financial capability advice and support

Where appropriate applicants / recipients will receive accompanying budgeting advice

Simplicity of process for students whist ensuring the safety of the information submitted.

Application processes are as simple and streamlined as possible using secure document transfer and storage.

Simplicity of process for administrators

Funds are economical to administer

Full accountability and record keeping

Complete records should be made and held in line with US needs and data protection guidelines


Confidentiality will be maintained appropriately. This includes any referrals, in line with student consent.

Equality and Parity

Standard awards will be assessed using the agreed formula.

Non-standard awards will be determined / agreed by the Hardship panel to challenge any conscious or unconscious bias in the original assessment.

Award caps

Caps for all awards are agreed at the start of the year.

The Hardship Award Panel may disregard these caps when required on a case by case basis.

Support Agreement Meeting (SAM) decisions

The hardship funds will support SAMs that have agreed a student needs additional funding. This might be beyond the normal hardship fund regulations.

This is the one case in which awards may be made without a hardship assessment.

Review and Reconciliation

The award caps and the standard award calculation shall be reviewed each year in the Hardship Fund Planning meeting.

Hardship Fund expenditure is reconciled weekly for review by the Hardship Award Panel.

Priority Students 

Every year the University, via its Access Participation Plan lays out priority support for various students. These students are as likely to receive an award as any non-priority student but are likely to get a larger award due to their circumstances.

In 2019/20 the priority groups are:

Priority Group
Finalists - Students in the final year of an Undergraduate/Postgraduate Research course. Students in the final term of their Postgraduate taught course
Undergraduate students with household incomes less than £25,000
Undergraduate BAME students
Care Leavers - In recepit of the Care Leaver's bursary
Estranged Students - In receipt of the Estranged student bursary
Mature Students - Over 21 at the start of an Undergraduate course (excluding PGCE students)
Students unable to work due to disability
Young Carers - Under the age of 25
Foyer students (1st Year Only)
Undergraduate students who grew up in Polar 4 Quintiles 1 or 2
Overseas students affected by a regional/national crisis