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Overview

Prior to starting their course, all postgraduate students are expected to have arranged sufficient funding for the duration of their studies. It is possible, however, that you may encounter unforeseen financial difficulties during this time and you may be eligible to apply for hardship funding.

The Postgraduate Hardship Fund provides financial assistance to postgraduate students in financial need. The awards are intended to support students who would otherwise be unable to complete their research or study. The scheme is funded by the University and Trust Fund donations (the Lundgren Fund and Harry Desai Fund). 

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

Applications for thesis binding costs are considered through the Postgraduate Hardship Fund. Please note that to be eligible for this funding, students must be in unforeseen financial hardship. 

Self-funded PhD students who have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, and have had to delay submission of their thesis as a result, are eligible to apply to the University's PGR Covid-19 Assistance Scheme (PGR CAS) for up to a maximum of £2,000. In order to be eligible for this funding, you must be in the 3rd year of your PhD (or beyond) and in financial need due to the impact of Covid-19 on the progress of your research or source of funding. Please apply to the Postgraduate Hardship Fund in the normal way. 

Eligibility 

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

  • All registered postgraduate students at the University of Cambridge are eligible (with the exception of students studying ICE Non-Award bearing courses and Higher Doctorates), so long as they are in immediate need of help for financial hardship (speculative applications are not permitted). 
  • Students experiencing a collapse in funding early in their studies will have to show that the circumstances leading to their financial hardship are unforeseen as it is not within the remit of the Fund to provide support to students who did not have a sufficient financial plan in place from the outset. All students are advised at the start of their course to ensure sufficient funds are available for the full duration of their course and are required to sign a Financial Undertaking Form as detailed on the Postgraduate Admissions website
  • Students who have completed their course or submitted their thesis for examination (only applicable to PhD students if not applying for assistance with thesis binding costs) are not eligible to apply for financial support. 
  • If your course is part funded or fully funded you are expected to have approached your funding sponsor for support before submitting an application the Postgraduate Hardship Fund. More information can be found here.  
  • The Fund does not normally provide assistance to PhD students beyond their fourth year as students are expected to submit their thesis within four years.  
  • The Fund does not normally provide assistance to Masters students beyond their second year. 

How much support is available?

The Fund provides awards of up to £2,000 to assist students with living costs.

How to apply 

Application form

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

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

Guidance for Academic Supervisors and College Tutors supporting student applications for hardship funding

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

Application timetable for 2022/23

Term Applications open Applications close Deadline for support forms Outcome communicated to student
MT 2022 Tue 4 October Tue 15 November Tue 29 November December
LT 2023 Tue 17 January Tue 21 February Tue 7 March March
ET 2023 Tue 25 April Tue 30 May Tue 13 June June 
LV 2023* Tue 4 July Tue 1 August Tue 15 August August 

*A long vacation round is available for PhD students who are in need of financial support over the summer as well as Masters students who are in extreme financial hardship and have not completed their course. 

Contact

Please contact the Student Funding and Fee Policy Team using the email address hardshipfunding@admin.cam.ac.uk if you have any questions about your eligibility and the application process.