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Crane's Charity exists to provide financial assistance to members of the University who need treatment for physical or mental illness. It 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.

Distributors (Trustees)

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 Fitzwilliam 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.

Purposes of the Charity

The Distributors have determined a relatively wide interpretation of the purpose of the charity. In modern times, the view has been taken that the proper scope of the Charity is to assist students who are ill, and who can demonstrate financial need.

Assistance is provided by grants for junior members in residence towards the cost of:

  • medical, surgical, or psychiatric treatments
  • items associated with such treatment (for instance, 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 Charity 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)
  • 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)

Students with disabilities are generally expected to seek assistance through the Disability Resource Centre, which provides information about and access to a 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.

Applications for assistance

The Distributors provide financial assistance to individual students on the basis of an application made on their behalf by their College Tutor. Colleges are normally also expected to make a contribution.

Applications for support may be made at any time. Tutors are advised that the application process can take several weeks, and can become extended if further opinion or advice needs to be sought – for instance, if there is insufficient detail or justification in medical or comparable opinions, or applications are about needs which might appear prima facie to be covered by the NHS or other services that the student’s GP is in a position to commission. The Distributors nevertheless expect applications to be determined within one month of receipt, provided that all the relevant information has been supplied. An application form can be downloaded here:

Tutors are obliged to submit a report, after an award has been made, to confirm how an award has been spent and whether it was beneficial to the student. This includes the success of the treatment, as well as the academic and other consequences of such treatment.

For the notice of colleges: change to procedure from October 2017

From 1 October 2017 payments from the Charity to colleges will be retrospective. Colleges should submit applications before a course of treatment and will be reimbursed upon the provision of both the Tutor's Report and receipts at the end of the course of treatment. All documents should be sent to the Secretary to the Distributors of the Crane's Charity, Fees & Funding, Student Registry, 4 Mill Lane, CB2 1RZ (graduatefunding@admin.cam.ac.uk). If payment is required in advance of treatment, please call (01223 3)32318 to discuss this before an application is submitted.

Other activities supported by the Benefaction

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.

The following table summarizes the expenditure from Crane's Charity in recent years.








  Number of grants Colleges represented Average grant
to students
Expenditure:
grants to students
Expenditure:
collective activities
TOTAL
EXPENDITURE
2006/07 44 20 £262 £11,507 £13,150 £24,657
2007/08 26 14 £459 £11,930 £5,000 £16,930
2008/09 45 14 £446 £20,074 £850 £20,924
2009/10 34 18 £403 £13,698 £6,875 £20,573
2010/11 21 14 £679 £14,251 £50,725 £64,976
2011/12 19 10 £472 £8,964 £51,570 £60,534
2012/13 39 21 £576 £22,449 £48,860 £69,309
2013/14 27 17 £762 £20,569 £48,990 £69,559
2014/15 35 19 £573 £20,045 £65,755 £85,800
2015/16 38 21 £740 £28,101 £46,525 £74,626
2016/17 43 23 £703 £30,237 £50,228 £80,465

Financial information about Crane's Charity can be found in the University's Financial Management Information report, published annually as a special number of the Cambridge University Reporter.