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Please note that this application process is new for 2022. We thank you in advance for your patience whilst we adjust to using the new process. 


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


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

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.

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)
  • treatment which has already taken place or if the student is not in residence 
  • expensive private treatments in the UK, where there might be reasonable access to appropriate NHS or similar provision
  • ordinary dental treatment (such as root canal work)
  • 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?

Applications are not normally approved for more than £1,800. 

Students may apply more than once in any academic year. 

How to apply

Students are now able to complete and submit an application directly to the fund (in exceptional circumstances, College Tutors may apply on the student's behalf if the student feels unable to complete and submit an application, for example).

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 

Applications for support may be made at any time during the academic year. Students should apply before or at the start of a course of treatment wherever possible.

Students should expect to receive the outcome of their application within two weeks of their College Tutor submitting their supporting statement. However, students are advised that the application process may be extended if further opinion or advice is needed. 

Please note that Colleges are normally expected to contribute towards the cost of treatment. College Tutors are asked whether the College is able and willing to make a contribution in their supporting statement. In addition, the Distributors hope that Colleges would normally be able to deal with small bills themselves without the need to apply to the Medical Support Fund. 

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. Ideally, the need for the treatment should be recommended by a medical practitioner who is independent of the treatment provider, especially if the latter is providing treatment through a private business. 

If you are submitting an application on behalf of a student as their College Tutor please complete this form and send it to the Secretary at

Payment of awards

Payment of awards are retrospective. 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 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. We ask that students/College Tutors inform the Secretary at the earliest opportunity if they did not go ahead with the treatment they applied for financial support with. 

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.


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.