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How your gifts to the Hardship Fund help students

Find out more about this vital safety net.

Emma's story

Having always worked alongside her studies, Emma Rudzinskaitė (BSc Politics & International Relations 2019) didn't expect to suddenly struggle during her final year. She shares her experience of the Student Hardship Fund and her gratitude to donors.

The University's Hardship Fund makes discretionary grants to provide support for students who are experiencing financial difficulty and are unable to meet basic or unexpected additional costs. The Fund can also offer limited support to students who have experienced a change in financial circumstances due to unforeseen events.

During the coronavirus pandemic, demand on the Fund surged and in April 2020, the Department of Development & Alumni Relations launched a crowdfunding appeal so that our alumni and friends could offer their support. Together we raised £45,838, including £10,000 in match funding from the Alumni Fund and a grant of $7,368 from the University of Bath Foundation.

Due to the continuing impact of the pandemic, we launched a second appeal in October. In total, you have now given over £140,000 to support our community through adversity.

Below, some of the students who received grants from the Fund during the pandemic share the impact it had on their lives:

A ray of hope

“I would like to say thank you to the alumni that continue to support the University with donations like these. When my application was considered, I felt like a valued student and I managed to save my father a lot of worries during these challenging weeks.

“I never thought I’d be turning to the University for financial aid and when I was forced to, I was received with warm hands. I would like to thank you for giving an opportunity to students like me who find themselves in a very tough position. You are greatly appreciated and valued and I'm sure that many other students must feel the same way.”

Photo of a person walking alone by the campus lake

Staying the course

“The pandemic put me in a very difficult position, as I was a Modern Languages student spending my year abroad on the other side of the world in Chile. With restrictions on travel, and my plane back home booked months prior to all of this, I decided to stay and wait things out. Nonetheless, this was a difficult choice as I was restricted on money.

“It came as such a relief to me to realise that things were slowly getting better and that I had one less worry to focus on as the money provided by the Fund allowed me to live on more than just tomato pasta. Your support has meant the absolute world to me. It has shown me that even in difficult times like these, there is always some hope and a light at the end of the tunnel.”

Photo of a tree with the campus lake in the background

Help to survive

“My mother, my only parent, was sent on unpaid leave as of mid-March for an unknown amount of time. As she provides me with my monthly budget, my financial situation got dire almost immediately. I tried finding a job but the options were few due to lockdown, despite me applying to countless places.

“As an EU student, I could not get an overdraft and I am not entitled to government maintenance loans. I got essentially stuck in the UK with no money to go home, with just enough money to survive a few weeks. The Hardship Fund grant helped me survive those hard months and pay for my bills, food and general spending. My sincere thanks goes out to the University alumni who supported this Fund, without which I really don't know what I'd have done."

Students sat on benches overlooking the campus lake

Getting home safely

“As an international student without a maintenance loan, I was strongly affected by the coronavirus situation. I lost my part-time job, which I’d used to cover most of my rent, utilities and food during term time, but my landlord continued to ask for rent.

“I also couldn’t get home for nearly a month and was stuck in the UK. Getting support from the fund let me pay for expensive flights home through three different countries and helped me pay rent for a flat I don’t live in anymore and had trouble paying for.”

Photo of the fountain in the campus lake with ducks swimming around it

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