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The Medical Support Fund (Crane's Charity) provides financial assistance to students in financial need who need treatment for physical or mental illness. The treatment applied for should not be conveniently or readily obtainable under the NHS. The scheme is funded by the Crane's Charity. More information about the Crane's Charity is available here

Students are expected to have discussed their application with their College Tutor prior to applying. 

The application process is managed by the Student Funding and Fee Policy Team and applications are carefully reviewed by a Medical Advisor (also referred to as the Apothecary). 


These eligibility criteria should be considered in addition to the General Eligibility Principles and Guidance of the University's Hardship Funds:

  • Financial assistance is provided towards mental health treatment (eg counselling), medical treatment, travel costs associated with medical treatment etc. 
  • Diagnostic assessments for Autism and ADHD will be supported
  • Applications should be made before the treatment has commenced - retrospective applications are not permitted
  • If your application is successful, all treatment must have occurred before your course completion date (UG and Masters students) or submission date (PhD students)
  • PhD students who have submitted their soft-bound thesis are not eligible to apply for support 
  • Students who are on intermission are eligible to apply to the Fund 
  • Students with disabilities are generally expected to seek financial assistance through the Accessibility and Disability Resource Centre (ADRC), which provides information and access to a wide range of support. However, the Medical Advisor will review applications relating to a 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

Please note that the Medical Advisor (Apothecary) will not normally approve an application if:

  • The treatment is unproven or not in accordance with NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) guidelines
  • The treatment or associated travel costs occurred outside the UK; 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 intermitting or working away from Cambridge
  • The application is for financial assistance with ordinary dental treatment (eg root canal work), glasses/contact lenses, or a diagnostic assessment for specific learning disabiltiies (eg Dyslexia)

How much support is available?

Students may apply for up to a maximum of £1,800 per academic year. This may be more than one application but should not exceed £1,800. 

Please carefully consider your application and what you are applying for support for. 

How to apply

Application form

Please ensure you complete the following steps before completing the application form:

  1. Talk to your College Tutor about applying 
  2. Read the eligibility criteria above to ensure you are eligible 
  3. Read the application guidance

Guidance for College Tutors supporting student applications for hardship funding

Word copy of application form (to be used to draft your responses only)

Applications for support may be made at any time during the academic year. You should expect to receive the outcome of your application within two weeks. However, students are advised that the application process may be extended if further opinion or advice is needed. If your application is missing any information, you will be contacted by the Student Funding and Fee Policy Team. 

Students are asked to upload a letter of support from their GP (or other registered health practitioner eg College nurse) explaining the clinical basis of the application. You are strongly recommended to provide a supporting letter from an appropriately qualified source, who is independent of the health provider you are proposing to use, such as your GP, University Counselling Service or your College Nurse/Counsellor. 

In exceptional circumstances, College Tutors may apply on the student's behalf; for instance, if the student feels unable to complete and submit an application. Please email the Student Funding and Fee Policy Team for more information.

Payment of awards

If your application is successful, payment of your award will take place at the end of the treatment applied for. It is the expectation of the Distributors of the Fund that Colleges will provide funding to students whilst they await retrospective payments of their award. 

Colleges will be reimbursed upon the receipt of a College Tutor's report and invoices/receipts at the end of the course of treatment. Please note that from the award date, College Tutors have two years in which to provide this information, after which the funding will not be able to be claimed. Please inform the Student Funding and Fee Policy Team at the earliest opportunity if the student did not go ahead with the treatment they applied for financial support with. 

College Tutor report form


Please contact the Student Funding and Fee Policy Team using the email address if you have any questions about your eligibility and the application process.