If your income is not covering your costs, The Financial Assistance Fund (FAF) may be able to offer some financial support towards your shortfall. The application process is simple and you don’t have to have special or extreme circumstances to apply but you do have to be eligible and demonstrate you are in financial hardship. Your circumstances are individual to you and each application is assessed individually on its own merit. It’s not compared to other applications, so it’s not a competitive process.
There are many different causes of financial hardship. It could due to temporary loss of part-time work or redundancy because of Covid, becoming unwell and unable to work for a few weeks, moving home unexpectedly for urgent reasons or your financial sponsor may have their own unexpected financial difficulty that has temporarily affected the financial support they are able to provide to you. This list is not exhaustive so if you are in financial hardship apply to be considered.
Although the fund is there to support any eligible student who has a particular financial need it’s also important to be aware that it cannot help meet the cost of tuition fees and unfortunately it’s unable to meet the needs of every application received or cover all income shortfall costs.
If you live at home, do not pay rent to pay, are eligible for the Student Finance Maintenance Loan and also the Queen Mary Bursary, it may be difficult to demonstrate that you are in financial hardship. However if you calculate that this money is not sufficient to cover your costs and you apply to FAF for additional financial support make sure you explain why this is and provide any supporting evidence so this can be considered.
This year eligible students can apply for a £500 award if they do not have access to a computer for their studies and need help to purchase one. Financial hardship must still be demonstrated.
So who is eligible?
All UK students. Undergraduate and Postgraduate students can apply. EU undergraduate students are also eligible to apply.
If you fall into one of these groups you can also apply if you are on study abroad or on a placement year.
If you are interrupting or re-sitting out of attendance, have not permanently withdrawn from your studies, intend to return after your time out and have exceptional or unforeseen costs you can apply. It’s important to provide details of your current circumstances as this will be considered as a ‘non-standard’ assessment (there is more information about this later and in the Financial Assistance Fund guidance). For example, you may need some financial support during the exam period.
EU Postgraduate and International students with short-term and urgent situations are also eligible and can also be considered although the fund cannot provide the main support for your costs. You should therefore explain how you would normally have met your costs and why this funding is currently unavailable.
Who is not eligible?
Apprenticeship students and MBBS students in Malta.
How do I apply?
Before applying to FAF you are expected to have planned your finances for the year, have some means of financial support already in place and have taken out all the student funding available to you. This includes the Student Maintenance Loan, Masters Loan Student Loan or NHS bursary and you must have received an instalment of this before you apply. However if you are only applying for the £500 award to purchase a computer, you don’t need to take out these loans in order to apply.
Priority is given to final year undergraduate students, students with children (especially if you are a single parent), disabled students or students who have become too unwell to work, students who are homeless and students who are care experienced or who are estranged and not in contact with your family. You can read what estrangement means in our guidance
The fund can also help if you have been awarded the SFE Disabled Students Allowance and been asked to contribute the first £200 yourself. The Disability and Dyslexia Service have further information about this.
It’s not possible to give an indication of how much will be awarded prior to an application being made and assessed. However if an application is successful and a grant is made you do not have to repay this.
Applications are made from your MySIS account as explained in the Financial Assistance Fund guidance. There is one application and this will be considered for a ‘standard award’ and a ‘non-standard award’. Standard awards help towards the difference between your income and basic expenses, using assumed income figures and a ‘non-standard award’ is help with a sudden financial emergency or special circumstances or costs that other students might not have.
The FAF guidance notes explain more about eligibility, Assumed income that is taken into account and has information about standard and non-standard awards.
Applications can be made each academic year. There are two closing dates for the 2020/21 academic year:
Applications for standard awards should be submitted by Friday 16 April 2021.
Applications for non-standard awards should normally be submitted at least 4 weeks before the end of your academic year but if you are a continuing student you can apply until Friday 16 July 2021 subject to funds being available.
To avoid delays in processing your application, try and submit all the required evidence with your original application as it can take up to four weeks to finalise assessments. If there are documents missing from your application, the Bursaries Office will usually contact you to tell you what you need to provide.
You can also read our guidance about the Financial Assistance Fund in our Additional Funding guide. You may also find our budgeting guidance useful to help plan your budget and work out if you have a shortfall between your income and your outgoing costs (expenditure).
If you would like advice about your finances, or would like to discuss which aspects of your situation might be important to include in your application, please contact us.