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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 students could encounter unforeseen financial difficulties during this time and may be eligible to apply for hardship funding.

The Postgraduate Hardship Fund provides 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. This scheme is partly funded through the Malati Sharma Memorial Fund. 


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). 
Please note that:

  • 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.  
  • Students who have completed their course or submitted their thesis for examination (applicable to PhD students only 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.  
  • Students should have explored all loan options available to them before applying for financial support.
  • The Fund does not normally provide assistance to PGR students beyond their fourth year as students are expected to submit their thesis within four years.  

How much support is available?

The Fund provides awards of up to £2,000 to assist students with maintenance and rental costs. If successful, students can only make one application in any academic year. 

How to apply 

  1. Complete the online application form by the relevant deadline (table below). Please remember to submit your application before the deadline.  
  2. Your application form will automatically be sent to your Supervisor (who will be required to comment on your academic progress) followed by your College Tutor (who will be asked to comment on your financial circumstances). Please do not provide the same person as both your Supervisor and College Tutor as we require two separate supporting statements.
  3. Applications are assessed by the Student Funding Team and overseen by the University Hardship Committee. Applicants are informed of the outcome of their application by email in the month following the closing date. 

If applying for support with thesis binding costs, please ensure that you clearly indicate this in your application. 

If you do not have a Supervisor, we would recommend providing the details of a person within your department who would be able to comment on your academic progress.

Application Timetable for 2021/22


Applications open

Applications close

Deadline for support statements

Outcomes communicated to student

MT 2021

5 October

9 November

23 November


LT 2022

18 January

15 February

1 March


ET 2022

26 April

24 May

7 June


Long Vacation 2022 (PhD students only)*

5 July

9 August

23 August


*A long vacation round is available for PhD students who are in need of financial support over the summer.  

What if I disagree with the outcome of my application?

The University Hardship Committee have advised that appeals should only be allowed solely on the grounds that the University’s published application and allocation processes have not been followed. You may appeal on that basis. 

If a student is not satisfied with the outcome of their application, they must submit an appeal in writing within 28 days of the date of the decision letter. Letters should be sent to the Student Funding Team and addressed to the University Hardship Committee. 

Appeals will be considered by a subcommittee of academics who sit on the University Hardship Committee and appeals will be escalated to the Chair of the Committee as and when required. The result of the appeal will be sent to the student within 28 days of receipt of the appeal, copied to their College Tutor. Please note that decisions made regarding appeals are final.

Appeals cannot be made by students who are ineligible to apply for the Postgraduate Hardship Fund according to the eligibility criteria.  


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