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We know that the Covid-19 pandemic is causing unexpected financial hardship for many students. If you are in this position, you should apply to your funding sponsor (if you have one) for additional support. You should also speak to your College Tutor, as many Colleges have hardship funds that can help to support students. 

Additionally, the University provides several central sources of financial support:

Fund Who this is for
Undergraduate Hardship Fund (Bell, Abbott and Barnes Funds) Undergraduates facing exceptional or unexpected financial hardship (for undergraduates, clinical medics and Part III students only)
Postgraduate Hardship Fund Postgraduates facing exceptional or unexpected financial hardship. Postgraduate research students may also apply for the PGR CAS scheme for self-funding PGR students requiring extended funding due to the Covid-19 pandemic
Medical Support Fund (Crane's Charity) Any student facing exceptional or unexpected medical costs leading to financial hardship
Special Hardship Fund

For the following purposes:

  • Intermitting students
  • Students on a year abroad
  • Students requiring support for Covid-19-related UK Hotel Quarantine Costs in 2021
DRC financial support Students with a disability
Childcare Bursary Scheme Students with dependent children
Sheikh Family Bursaries Undergraduate Muslim home (usually UK) students in financial need
Student Hardship Loan Fund Any student who finds themselves in unexpected financial hardship requiring a temporary loan

Use this flow diagram to help identify which funds may be most appropriate for you to apply for.


General Eligibility Principles 

These principles should be used in addition to the specific rules of individual funds above as in overview page (where not already included):

  1. Students need to show they had made adequate financial provision for their course and that their financial hardship is unforeseen. 
  2. University hardship funds should be a last resort after Government, Funding Sponsor, College and Department resources have been exhausted. 
  3. All claims for assistance with living expenses should provide a budget of income and expenditure for the current academic year (and future academic years if appropriate) and take account of expected costs (eg the cost of repatriation should only be claimed where it is in excess of any expected cost of returning to the student’s home country in that academic year). Evidence must be provided of exceptional costs where these are substantial, either to the Tutor or the University hardship fund directly.
  4. Students need to show a gap in their budget that is small enough for hardship funding to make the difference to meet the gap. This will allow us to focus limited resources on students for whom it can make the difference and allow them to complete their course.
  5. Students may not claim for the support of a dependent who was not registered with the University at the commencement of study or thereafter (eg financial support for parents or other family members).
  6. Students who are fully funded by an internal sponsor at Cambridge (eg the Cambridge Trust) are not usually eligible to be considered for University hardship funding. This allows us to focus limited resources on primarily self-funded students who do not have recourse to a sponsor.
  7. University hardship funds should not provide extended funding for students fully supported by a sponsor unless it can be shown that the sponsor cannot fund the extension. In such cases, a student may apply for University hardship funding only if they are currently facing financial hardship. It is worth bearing in mind that the level of hardship award granted for maintenance is below the level of scholarship stipends.
  8. Support is not given to support tuition fees.
  9. Students will not be eligible for Special Hardship where they have made a similar application to another University hardship fund and been found to be ineligible (eg because the hardship was not unforeseen).
  10. Students who face financial hardship whilst on intermission (when funding is normally suspended) may currently apply to the University Special hardship fund. This funding is expected to cease at the end of the 2021/2 academic year. 
  11. The following students are not eligible for support from University hardship funds:
  • Students on non-award (degree) bearing courses at the Institute for Continuing Education (ICE) or elsewhere, non-matriculated students taking professional development courses (eg at the Faculty of Education, Transition year students)
  • UG students after the first opportunity to graduate - except where the student is following a 4-year integrated course. In line with the University’s Care Leavers Covenant and Stand Alone Pledge, care leavers and estranged students may apply for support during the first 10 weeks after graduation
  • PG research students after the submission of the soft bound thesis
  • Higher doctoral students
  • Students who are off the register/withdrawn
  • Applicants (ie not current students of the University).


Other Sources of Support at Cambridge 

As the University Hardship Funds have limited funding available and receive a high volume of applications, you should also speak to your College Tutor and explore all other available support such as: 

  • Your College’s Hardship Funds