Assessing University of Bath Hardship Fund applications
How applications to the University of Bath Hardship Fund are assessed including which students are priorities for assistance.
Applications from full-time students
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. Applications submitted in the final four weeks of a course cannot be considered.
Treatment of income for undergraduate students
All your student loans and grants are counted as income including any bursaries you receive e.g. Social Work. If you receive the maintenance grant or special support grant we will only count anything you receive over £1796 as income. If you are eligible for the Bath Bursary we will disregard the first £347 but count the rest as income.
For full-time undergraduate students we have to take into account an ‘assumed’ income level. This is £1796 per year for continuing students and £599 for final year students. This assumed income could be made up of part-time work, additional support from family, overdraft, savings etc. The only exceptions to this income where it may be disregarded in full or partially are for students who are disabled (and in receipt of disability benefits) or students with children. Other mitigating circumstances may also be considered.
If you co-habit with your partner we will also include their income. Any means tested welfare benefits you receive will also be taken into account. Any savings or bank deposits over and above the level of assumed income will also be included.
During the summer vacation we will look at your actual income and take into account any welfare benefits you may be entitled to receive during this period. Summer assessments are aimed at the priority groups listed below. Students who could otherwise work would not necessarily be considered, unless there are mitigating circumstances.
Treatment of income for postgraduate students
For full-time postgraduates a weekly notional income (NPI) level is set that should cover daily living costs. This income could be from a variety of sources such as Professional & Career Development Loans, grants, scholarships, part-time work, partner’s income, trust & charities, savings etc. The NPI is set at £170 per week and for students with children or those unable to work due to disability this amount would be reduced to £137 per week. These figures are calculated over 52 weeks – £8,840 and £7,124 respectively.
Please note if reasonable provision has not been made to cover both tuition fees and living costs at the start of the course we will refuse any award from the fund.
Treatment of expenditure for all applications
There are set expenditure levels known as Composite Living Costs (CLC) that are based upon state benefit amounts to cover general living costs such as food, household bills etc. These figures are set by the Government. CLC figures for a single student are £74 per week and higher amounts apply for disabled students (in receipt of means-tested benefits with disability premiums) or those with children.
We have in place cap limits for costs that are based on the local area for items such as rent, travel, childcare, course costs etc.
The running of a car would not normally be considered for students unless they have dependent children, require use of a car due to mobility disabilities or where for some students a car has been considered as an essential use. Where public transport is available and relevant to the student’s circumstances only these costs will be considered.
We will look at reasonable expenditure and expected income for the whole academic year to see whether there is a shortfall or ‘additional need’ between the two. There are limitations as to what can be counted as income and expenditure and these are prescribed by the Government. Your expenditure will be offset against your income for the full academic year and where there is an additional need we will make an award from the fund.
Please see applying for the University of Bath hardship fund for information on non-standard applications.
Applications from part-time students
Part time students are expected to have made provision for their living costs and tuition fees and would normally only be assessed for help with course related costs unless they have mitigating circumstances that warrant assistance from the fund.
Undergraduate students should have applied for any eligibility from the student tuition fee loan package of support from government.
Postgraduate students should have in place adequate funding for their tuition fees for their studies.
If reasonable provisions have not been made for both tuition fees and living costs we may refuse any award from the fund.
The application process looks at three criteria:
- threshold assessment i.e. course related costs
- childcare awards, if you need to pay for registered childcare (undergraduates only)
- Additional Fee Support, if your fees are higher than your fee grant (pre-2012 entry undergraduates only)
Financial support towards course related costs such as books, travel to university, childcare etc. We will look at the level of income and the level of necessary additional expenditure that you incur through attending the course.
Shortfalls and any awards are made on the following bandings:
|Band||Income||% of award|
|Two||£16,845 - £25,420||75%|
|Three||£25,421 - £26,029||50%|
|Four||£26,030 - £28,065||25%|
|Five||£28,066 and over||0|
If you receive the maximum fee grant and maximum course grant you may be considered for a childcare grant if:
- you are the main carer of the child/ren AND
- the child is aged 15 and under (or 17 if the child is registered as having special educational needs) AND the childcare provider is OFSTED registered or otherwise approved AND
- neither you or our partner receives the Childcare Element of Working Tax Credit
Students who fall outside of these criteria are ineligible for the childcare award.
Additional Fee Support
The Additional Fee Support Scheme is for low income part-time undergraduate (pre 2012 entry) students where statutory fee support is insufficient to meet the full tuition fees, which could prevent the student from accessing and remaining in Higher Education because of financial hardship.
If you are ineligible for the tuition fee grant then you can still submit an application to be considered.
Where students do not meet any of the part-time criteria but are still encountering hardship they may still be considered for support from the fund and should speak to Student Money Advice.
Priorities for assistance
We will give priority to the following groups of students when deciding how to allocate the funding:
- students with children
- mature students
- lone parents
- students with disabilities
- students entering from care, foyers or were previously homeless
- young adult carers
- estranged Students
- final year students
If you are not in one of the priority groups you can still apply but you must provide as much evidence as possible to show why you have a particular need.
Disability/Special Medical Needs
Disabled students, including those with dyslexia, may wish to apply for the cost of a preliminary diagnostic test before applying for the Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA).
Students can claim the cost of their diagnostic test retrospectively once they have enrolled with the University. The diagnostic test in question needed to have been taken within 12 months of starting their course and the University will only cover up to a maximum of £390 as per the Hardship Fund guidance.
Support from the fund is means-tested and is based on a student’s household income. The table below illustrates the level of support you can expect to receive based on gross household income.
|Gross household income||Level of support|
|£42,875 or below||Full Support (£400)|
|£42,876- £62,212||50% of full fee paid (£200)|
|£62,213 or above||0% of full fee paid (£0)|
Students are normally referred to us following an appointment with a Disability Adviser.
Students on placement are expected to have their essential costs covered before being considered for an award. Essential costs include rent, food and utility bills. Before applying to the fund students must have applied for (if applicable) and received the maximum amount of statutory funding available i.e. maintenance loan.
Students with second degrees and previous study
Students who are choosing to undertake a second undergraduate degree (or have used up their funding entitlement) are not normally eligible for funding from the UK student loan/grants package of support. The fund cannot be used to replace the financial shortfall for students in these circumstances. Students applying to the fund would be expected to have made reasonable provision for their tuition fees and living costs before they would be considered for help from the fund.