Ask any student around the country what their biggest concerns are and it’s likely that, alongside ‘graduate employment’ and ‘how much I actually drank last night?’, money is a constant concern.
Whilst the majority of students couldn’t go to university without the splendid generosity of the Student Loans Company that allow you to take a loan out on your tuition fees rather than pay them up front (imagine!), some students struggle with the amount of maintenance loan they receive.
Your rent could be sky high, especially if you study in a big city. A part-time job is out of the question due to the intensity of your course; working weekends after a 30 hour week of study would burn you out more than a few hours in the Sahara desert. Add your weekly shopping receipts, monthly internet bills and quarterly utility costs on top of your (admittedly overly priced) rent and you can see how it all starts to add up.
Let’s make one thing clear: students shouldn’t have to delve into overdrafts and credit card loans in order to survive at university. Make sure you’re picking up all the bursaries and scholarships you’re eligible for – these can add up to hundreds and thousands of Her Majesty’s finest Great British Pounds. Not bad, for the slightly poor student.
If you’ve exhausted all the loans and bursaries and even had to dip into your overdraft (naughty), you could be eligible for a student hardship fund.
What Is A Student Hardship Fund?
If you’re experiencing financial hardship, you could be eligible for extra money. For example, if you’re a single parent student, a mature student with financial commitments, from a low income family or a student that was previously in care, university hardship funds could be accessible.
You won’t have to repay any money you receive through hardship either. However, your university could get pretty nosey about your financial situation – they’ll usually ask to see your student finance letter, to see how much maintenance loans and grants you receive. They may also ask to have a peek at your bank statements and rent details. If there are lots of entries on your statement for ‘4 x Jagerbombs’, it’s unlikely you’ll be granted a hardship fund given that there a clear ways to save money.
In short, student hardship is calculated by looking at income and essential expenditure. If there is a shortfall, you’re likely to receive some hardship fund.
How Much Will I Receive?
You could receive anything between £100 to around £3000. Additionally, there may be some particular funds you can access that are exclusive to your university. For example, the Yusuf Ali Fund at the University of London originally carried the purpose of assisting students from India and Pakistan.
Applying for student hardship is by no means shameful or embarrassing, and is simply using the means available to ensure you get through university whilst living a healthy and comfortable lifestyle. There’s enough stressful things about being a student without worrying about money too!