Discretionary and Hardship Funding

We know that lots of you have been affected financially by the Covid-19 crisis. If you don't fit into the categories below but you are still in need of funds please do still contact us for advice at advice@eusa.ed.ac.uk or apply directly to the University at studentfunding@ed.ac.uk, as extra support is available during this time.


UK Students

If you have completely run out of money now, please contact the Advice Place for help.


A student loan is unlikely to cover all your accommodation and living expenses whilst studying and many students will find themselves in hardship during their studies.  Hardship is where the income you are receiving does not cover all your costs and/or you are accruing debt (including a student overdraft) to help you manage financially.


There is no limit on the amount of times you can apply to the fund if you are eligible, but it can only award more than £4,000 in academic year in very exceptional circumstances.


You cannot apply for help paying your fees— if paying your fees in placing you in hardship, then you can ask for help with living costs, but you need to make very clear in your form that you are not asking for help to pay the actual tuition fees.


Can I apply to the Discretionary Fund?

To be eligible you need to:

  • - Be a UK student or refugee for funding purposes.  (EU students who receive a tuition fee loan and living cost support from a UK funding body can be considered)
  • - Have applied for the maximum living cost support from your student funding body.  This means that you have provided them with information for your own or your parent’s household income to be assessed.
  • - Be fully matriculated or a continuing student not yet matriculated.  Students who are only registered to sit exams (called “exam only”) are not eligible.  Students who are on an interruption of studies for health reasons can still be considered.  Undergraduate students can apply over the summer break if the fund has not been exhausted. 
  • - Have received the first payment of your student finance in the academic year you wish to make an application.
  • - Be in current hardship or debt. An award will not be made if you have access to money from other sources, such as savings, however we would always advise, if you feel you do not have enough money, apply.


I’m not a UK student for funding purposes or refugee

You can still apply for help using the same form but your application will be submitted to the Common Bursaries fund; this is a much more limited fund. The maximum award that can be made from the Hardship Fund is capped annually at £600 for a family, £400 for a couple and £200 for a single student.


How do I apply?

Complete an application form. You need to submit your form via email at the moment. Forms can be submitted directly to the Student Information Point at Old College, or by e-mailing studentfunding@ed.ac.uk. If you'd like one of our advisers at the Advice Place to check if you've included all the right documents before you submit your form please send it to advice@eusa.ed.ac.uk and we will check and then submit it for you.  


Completing the form

The form itself is straightforward but there are a couple of sections you may want to spend time on.


Income and Expenditure

If you are made an award, this is the section that they will use to look at the shortfall between the amount of money you have coming in and the amount you have to spend each week or month.   This will help them identify if you have enough money to cover the expected cost of living for a student. 

You will be asked to complete details of your weekly and monthly costs. It’s worth taking time to look through your bank statements to get a picture of how much your costs are. In travel costs remember to include an average of your costs for travel to see family. Include any additional costs you may forget about, such as a TV licence, insurance or course material costs.

Don’t underestimate your costs.  If you don’t buy any clothes because you can’t afford any, put in the amount you would reasonably expect to spend on clothes if you were not in hardship.


Supporting statement

This is your opportunity to put forward any circumstances you would like them to consider when making an award.  You should include:

  • - Any unexpected costs – such as travel home to see a relative in an emergency, replacing a lost item, bills you weren’t expecting, etc.
  • - Illness or workload – if illness prevents you from working or if your workload or placements make it difficult to work include this.
  • - Additional responsibilities – if you have to care for someone else at times, make sure you mention this.
  • - If you don’t receive financial support from other sources (such as parents) make this clear in your statement.

Don’t forget to sign the form and include your bank account details for payment.


What type of evidence do I need?

Applications without the evidence requested will be delayed while they contact you for the required information, so take time to make sure you have provided all they ask for. For all applications, you will need to supply:


  • - Your bank statements for all the accounts you have for the 3 months prior to the date you sign the form. If you don’t have a statement for the full 3 months then you can screenshot your transactions or ask your bank for a print-out.
  • - Evidence of your overdraft.  This may show on your bank statements or you may need to ask your bank to confirm this.
  • - Your letter from your student funding to confirm your funding.  You can download this from your Student Finance/SAAS portal.  It needs to show any bursary or loan payments, the amount you receive and when they are paid.
  • - Evidence of any unpaid bills, rent arrears or other costs you would like them to consider.
  • - Evidence to show the amount of rent you pay.  This will normally be an accommodation contract or tenancy agreement or letter from a landlord. If you don’t have any of these, then they may accept highlighted transactions on your bank statements which show a regular monthly amount of rent being paid. 

Where I can get help to apply?

The Advice Place can help with any questions you have about completing the form. We can check your form and evidence and let you know if we think you should add anything else. If we think you might be eligible for other funding, we will let you know.



What happens next?

The form is assessed by the Scholarships and Student Funding Team. We can’t tell you what the outcome will be.  If they decide they need more information from you, they will send an e-mail to your university e-mail address.


The form usually takes 3 weeks to assess and let you know of the outcome.  If you do receive an award then it can take up to 2 weeks to make payment to your bank account.


If you are successful, that letter will let you know why you have received an award and what it’s for (e.g. living costs, reducing overdraft, unpaid rent). 


My application was rejected

If you receive an e-mail stating that they can’t make an award it will usually let you know why. If it isn’t clear, contact the Scholarships and Student Funding team for more information.


The Advice Place can help explain why you might not have received an award and help you ask for a review of the decision within 10 days of receiving it, or apply again at another time.


If you ask them to look at their decision again then you usually need to supply evidence, such as an updated bank statement or a copy of a bill.


I need money quickly

If you have run out of money now or are worried about upcoming costs, contact us.  We offer short-term loans for food and travel, and can help you negotiate other commitments in the meantime.

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