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What is the hardship fund?
The University of Bath Hardship Fund provides limited financial support for students who are experiencing financial difficulty and are unable to meet basic or unexpected additional costs from other sources of support. The fund can also offer limited support to students who have experienced a change in financial circumstances due to unforeseen events.
The fund is intended to act as a safety net for those in financial difficulty rather than a main source of income. The size of the fund is limited and we may not be able to meet your need in full. Awards are discretionary and are paid in the form of a non-repayable grant.
The hardship fund cannot fully compensate for the lack of parental contribution; especially where a student has only been able to take out the non-means tested part of the Student Loan though some limited support may be available. If you already hold a Higher Education (H.E.) qualification which is the same or higher than the course you plan to study then you may not be eligible for statutory funding for the Student Loans Company. If this is the case then you will not be eligible to receive an award from the Hardship Fund.
Conditions and eligibility
The hardship fund is open to UK, EU and International students, including students on level 4 to 5 pre-sessional courses.
Exchange, Study Abroad and visiting students coming from overseas to study at the University are not ordinarily eligible, but in extreme cases such as conflict or natural disaster in the student’s home country, limited funding may be available. If in doubt please e mail email@example.com with a brief outline of your circumstances prior to completing a full application.
Students undertaking part-time distance learning courses, including Postgraduate Apprentice Degrees are able to receive support for certain course related costs only, such as books, travel to university for residentials & residential accommodation up to a maximum of £750.
Students undertaking an online part-time distance learning postgraduate taught course, are able to receive support for certain course related costs only, such as books, stationery & equipment up to a maximum of £300
If you are studying part-time then your course must be equivalent to at least 25% of a full time course.
Before applying to the fund you must have applied for (if applicable) and received the maximum amount of statutory funding available i.e. maintenance loan/grant to which you are entitled during the academic year. Students who choose not to apply for their full entitlement will not be eligible to apply to the fund with the exception of funding for diagnostic tests.
If you are entitled to welfare benefits these should be applied for before submitting an application to the fund. Any award from the fund may affect your benefit payments, but on request we can produce a letter for your Job Centre Plus/Housing Benefit office, which will confirm whether or not the award will affect your benefits.
The Fund cannot fully compensate for the lack of parental contribution, especially if you have only been able to take out the non-means tested part of the Student Loan.
Please note the fund cannot be used to assist towards the payment of tuition fees with the exception of part-time home and EU undergraduate students (pre-2012 entry) who can apply for funding under the Additional Fee Support Scheme. This is only available to part-time undergraduates on lower incomes, where the fee grant does not meet the whole amount.
Assessing University of Bath Hardship Fund Applications
Applications to the Hardship Fund are either treated as ‘standard’ or ‘non-standard’. All applications are presented at a Funds Panel meeting for consideration and should take no longer than four weeks. The Student Money Advice Team will decide whether or not an application will be put forward for a standard or non-standard award.
The treatment of income for standard applications differs for undergraduate and postgraduate students, but the treatment of expenditure is the same for both.
Students can apply to the fund at any time during the year but this must be more than four weeks prior to their official course end date to allow time to assess the application. The official end date is the date of the student’s last exam or the submission date of the last piece of course work. Applications submitted in the final four weeks of a course cannot usually be considered. Please e mail firstname.lastname@example.org for advice if you are in hardship at the end of your course.
Postgraduate and International Students
If you are a Postgraduate and/or an International Student you are expected to have funding in place to cover both your tuition fees and living costs before starting your course. The Hardship Fund cannot assist with tuition fee payments and any application for this specific cost will not be considered. If you are having difficulties in paying your fees you should contact email@example.com.
You are also expected to have made adequate financial provision to cover your core living costs before starting your course i.e. rent, food & utility bills. Where adequate financial provision has not been made and you have started your course with insufficient funds to cover your basic living costs it is unlikely you will qualify for an award from the Hardship Fund. The Hardship Fund is unable to cover the cost of a student visa, or visa costs for your family.
If you have encountered financial difficulty due to verifiable mitigating circumstances or one off unexpected cost then we may be able to assist, though please note that the Hardship Fund is discretionary and no guarantee of an award can be made.
When can I apply?
You can apply to the fund at any time during the year but this must be more than four weeks prior to your official course end date to allow time to assess the application. Applications submitted in the final four weeks of a course cannot be considered.
You may apply more than once during an academic year for help from the fund, but subsequent applications may only be considered if your circumstances have changed.
Your application with accompanying evidence will be retained for six years from the date it is submitted and then destroyed in line with University policy.
Timescale for applications
Provided your application form is accurately completed and all the appropriate documentary evidence has been supplied a decision will be made within four weeks of submitting your application.
We will write to you with the outcome of the panel’s decision and when you can expect payment (if applicable). This will also include details of how to appeal if you are not satisfied.
If you are unable to wait this length of time and need more immediate financial assistance you can apply for a Short Term Loan.
Non-standard awards can be made to help meet exceptional or unexpected costs such as repairs to essential household equipment or assist with emergency situations e.g. travel for family illness or bereavement.
In addition, the fund can consider costs for disabled students which are not met by the Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA). This will be done on a case by case basis and the level of support will be determined by available funding resource. If you wish to be considered for a non-standard award you will need to provide us with as much information as possible to support your application.
Appealing a decision
If you wish to appeal the decision you should do so in writing within four weeks of us notifying you of the outcome. You can appeal on the following grounds:
- the approved procedures for the allocation of the hardship fund were not followed
- new evidence has emerged that that was not part of the original application
- you feel that your financial hardship is greater than the panel determined
You need to submit your appeal in writing indicating the grounds on which your appeal is based and explaining why you are challenging the decision. Appeals should be addressed to:
Director of Student Support & Safeguarding
Student Support Centre
4 West, University of Bath
Bath, BA2 7AY
For Undergraduate and Postgraduate Masters students, while assessing your application it may be necessary to contact your department to confirm academic progress.
For Doctoral students, we will contact the Doctoral College directly to confirm academic progress, and expected timeline of completion.
By completing the Hardship Fund application form, and accompanying declaration, you are agreeing to this contact.