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Students should have sought the maximum support available from external sources before applying to the University Hardship Funds. It is expected that if a student has access to a government supported, educational loan they will attempt to take out/extend this loan before applying to a hardship fund.  

Undergraduate Students  

UK students should have applied to Student Finance England for all tuition fee loans and grants, maintenance loans and grants and any other statutory awards for which they may be eligible, before submitting an application to the Undergraduate Hardship Fund. If household financial circumstances have worsened since their initial application, students can apply to have their household income reassessed by Student Finance England, which may result in further support and a higher Cambridge Bursary (which is calculated automatically based on household income and other factors). Your College Tutor can advise you. 

EU students should have taken out a tuition fee loan from Student Finance England or, where eligible, before submitting an application to the Undergraduate Hardship Fund. They should also have applied for any student loans that are available to them in their home countries. 

Overseas students will have supplied a funding plan before arriving in Cambridge, and should ask their guarantors to honour this plan before submitting an application to the Undergraduate Hardship Fund. The Fund will not be prepared to assist students unless there has been some unexpected change of circumstances since they originally supplied their funding plan. 

Student Finance England funded students having to intermit their studies may apply for their maintenance funding to continue due to ‘Compelling Personal Reasons’. Please contact Student Finance England for information on how to apply.  

Postgraduate Students 

Many hundreds of charities make awards to current and prospective postgraduate students. However, they can be hard to find and may require a specific and specialized approach.  

A useful source of information for exploring funding opportunities from charities and voluntary organisations is the Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding. This is an external resource published independently by GradFunding. It provides a database of alternative funding opportunities from charities and trusts and gives advice about how to apply to them, including model personal and financial statements. The University has purchased a licence to the Guide, so it’s free for all students and staff to use.   

Current Cambridge students and staff can use their University email address to register online for access to the Guide.