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The Bell, Abbott, and Barnes Funds provide assistance to undergraduate students (but not graduate students) in financial difficulties, and particularly to those suffering unexpected hardship. They provide grants of up to £2,000 per annum. There is one application deadline in the middle of each term: you should, well in advance, give full details of your financial situation to your Tutor who can apply on your behalf.


All undergraduate students, including clinical medical students (UK, EU or overseas) at the University of Cambridge are eligible, so long as they are in immediate need of help for financial hardship.

Students must be reading for one of the following degrees: B.A., Mus.B., B.Th., M.B. B. Chir., Vet M.B., or an intergrated Master’s degree (M.Eng., M.Math., M.Sci.) taken as Part III of a Tripos.  Affiliated students (those who already have a degree from another University and are taking the Cambridge B.A. in two years rather than three) are also eligible.

Graduate students reading for the degree of Advanced Studies (M.A.St.) and Clinical medical students reading for an intercalated Ph.D. during the M.B. B. Chir are not eligible for the duration of the PhD and need to apply to the Graduate Hardship fund.

Other help you should seek before applying to the Bell, Abbott, and Barnes Funds

UK students should have applied to Student Finance for all tuition fee loans and grants, maintenance loans and grants and any other statutory awards for which they may be eligible, before submitting an application to the Bell, Abbott, and Barnes Funds. They should also have applied to the Cambridge Bursary Scheme and (if relevant) the Access to Learning Fund. Your Tutor can advise you.

EU students should have taken out a tuition fee loan from Student Finance, and have applied to the Cambridge European Bursary Scheme, before submitting an application to the Bell, Abbott, and Barnes Funds. They should also have applied for any student loans that are available to them in their home countries.

Overseas students will have had to supply a funding plan before arriving in Cambridge, and should ask their guarantors to honour this plan before submitting an application to the Bell, Abbott, and Barnes Funds. The Funds will not be prepared to assist you unless there has been some unexpectedchange of circumstances since you originally supplied your funding plan.

In addition, all students should have sought hardship support from their own College.

How much help is available?

You could receive up to a maximum of £2,000 in one year, based on an assessment of your need, but most grants are in the range £100 to £1,000. It is possible to apply more than once in a single year, subject to the overall maximum of £2,000 per annum.

Some applicants receive ”Exhibitions”. These are awarded occasionally to second- and third-year students facing ongoing financial difficulty, but only to those who have obtained excellent examination results so far. Once granted, an Exhibition is often renewed every year until the student has graduated.

How to apply

Applications can only be made by your Tutor, on your behalf. Contact your College Tutor for further information. The Awarders will rely on your Tutor’s assessment of your need, so you must ensure that you give as much information as possible to your Tutor, and that the details you give are accurate. If the Awarders require further information, they will ask your Tutor before making a decision. All the information you give will be treated confidentially.

Awards are made from the Bell, Abbott, and Barnes Funds once each term. The deadline for your Tutor to apply is the Division of Term, that is to say, 9th November, 13th February or 14th/21st May (the final date depending on when Easter falls). Late applications cannot be considered until the following term.

Your Tutor will normally be informed of the outcome of your application within two weeks of the application deadline. Successful applicants should receive their award before the end of Full Term through their College account.

What if I disagree with the outcome of my application?

If your application is unsuccessful, your Tutor will be sent an explanatory letter. You should consult your Tutor about the reasons. You will not be able to communicate directly with the Bell, Abbott, and Barnes Funds but must address any disagreement with your Tutor.

Application form

Application form and guidance notes

You should not fill in the form yourself. Only your Tutor should complete the form, so please contact him or her for more information. Tutors should not edit the form electronically and change the layout.