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The Crane's Charity provides financial assistance to any student of the University who needs treatment for physical or mental illness and who can demonstrate financial need. 


Assistance is provided by grants to the cost of:

  • Medical, surgical, or psychiatric treatment
  • Items associated with such treatment (eg nursing home, convalescent accommodation, travel, etc.)
  • Treatment for injuries resulting from accidents.

In all cases, treatment should not be conveniently or readily obtainable under the NHS.

The Fund will not normally make grants for:

  • treatments that are unproven or that are not in accordance with NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) guidelines
  • treatment outside the UK or associated travel costs (exceptions may be made, however, when it is necessary during a visit overseas to continue UK-based treatment for a serious medical condition or if the student is on intermission or working away from Cambridge)
  • expensive private treatments in the UK, where there might be reasonable access to appropriate NHS or similar provision
  • ordinary dental treatment
  • spectacles or contact lenses
  • diagnostic assessments for specific learning disabilities (such as Dyslexia)*.

*diagnostic assessments for autism and ADHD will be supported

Students with disabilities are generally expected to seek assistance through the Disability Resource Centre, which provides information and access to a wide range of support, both statutory and discretionary. The Distributors nevertheless consider applications relating to disability on a case-by-case basis; assistance may be provided, for instance, where the student has acquired a disability since matriculation and where no other financial support is available.

PhD students who have submitted their soft bound thesis are not eligible for support. 

Students currently intermitting their studies are eligible to apply for financial support. 

How much support is available?

Grants are not normally made for more than £1,800. 

Students may apply more than once in any academic year. 

How to apply

Applications should be made on the student’s behalf by their College Tutor. Applications from students will not be accepted.

Applications for support may be made at any time during the academic year. College Tutors are advised that the application process may take several weeks and may be extended if further opinion or advice is needed. 

Colleges are normally expected to contribute towards the cost of treatment.

  1. Please complete the application form and send to the Secretary along with a supporting letter from the student’s GP/UCS Counsellor/College Nurse/Treatment Provider. 
  2. Ensure that you provide information on the treatment within the application eg number of sessions and confirmed cost as well as details of the health care provider who will be delivering the treatment indicating their professional qualification. Please alert the Secretary if this would delay treatment for any reason. 

Application form for Medical Support [Word]

College Tutors are obliged to submit a report after an award has been made to confirm if the award has been spent and whether it was beneficial to the student (success of treatment as well as academic benefits). 

Tutor's Report [Word]

Payments of awards are retrospective. Colleges should apply before or at the start of a course of treatment and will be reimbursed upon the receipt of the Tutor’s Report and invoices at the end of the course of treatment. 

From the award date, College Tutors will have two years in which to provide the Secretary with invoices of the costs incurred and a tutor’s report. After which, the funding will not be able to be reclaimed. Please inform the Secretary if a student did not take up the treatment applied for. 

Please send complete applications to the Secretary using the email address

About the Fund

The Crane's Charity is the result of a benefaction from John Crane (1571-1652), Cambridge apothecary and philanthropist, whose will established funds 'to be given to poore scholars for their Releife when they are sicke for paying for their Physick, dyet, or other things necessary for them in their sickness, knowing heretofore many have miscarried for want of meanes to releiue them'. The income for the Charity derived originally from Crane's estate in Lincolnshire, until its sale in 1951, after which the proceeds were invested by the University.

A body of Distributors of the Charity was established under Mr Crane's Will and is laid down in University Ordinances (Statutes and Ordinances, 2016): the Vice-Chancellor, or a deputy (currently the Master of Downing College); the Master of Gonville and Caius College; the Regius Professors of Physic, of Divinity, and of Civil Law. The Distributors are advised in their work by a Chief Apothecary.

In addition to providing support to individual applicants, the Distributors have also provided financial assistance for collective activity that they have determined as falling within the purposes of the Charity. Regular funding is provided to sustain the mental health and psychiatric support work of the University Counselling Service.