The College and the University expect all students to have sufficient funds in place to cover the costs of their course before taking up their place, but should you find yourself facing unanticipated financial difficulties for reasons that you could not have anticipated when you began your course, get in touch with your Tutor and discuss your eligibility for one or more of the specific Hardship funds listed below. There are notes on General Eligibility Principles and Guidance here.
Wolfson College Hardship Fund
The College has a small fund to help students who encounter unexpected financial difficulties in meeting their living costs. Both undergraduates and postgraduates may apply for a Wolfson College Hardship Grant, with the exception of the following, who are not ordinarily eligible:
- Students in their first term of study (as it is expected that you will have sufficient funds in place to cover your first term).
- Students who have not taken out Tuition or Maintenance loans for which they are eligible.
- Part-time students (as it is assumed that part-time students are covering their own living expenses through work).
- Any student who has already completed all the requirements for their degree.
- PhD students who have already completed 4 years of full-time study.
If you are considering applying for Hardship funding, please talk over your situation with your Tutor, in the first instance. Then apply using the online Wolfson Hardship application form. When you have submitted the form, you will automatically receive a copy of the completed form in your inbox. You should send the completed form to your Tutor and ask them to use the Reference: Wolfson Hardship application form for their support.
Awards are small, with most ranging between £150 and £1000, and an average award of £450. Note that hardship funds are only intended to help with short-term living costs, not to cover tuition fees or regular College bills, which students are expected to be able to cover before they begin their course.
There are five meetings of the Student Finance Committee per year, when the majority of applications are assessed. The last date that applications can be received for these meetings for 2023-2024 are 16 November, 25 January, 22 February, 2 May, 13 June. Applications will also be assessed between July and October as necessary. Please contact your Tutor and then Student Finance Officer if you are in urgent need of help.
Funds to support students with childcare costs in hardship are also available from the generous benefaction of the Ujejski-Williams Fund.
Bell, Abbott & Barnes Funds for Undergraduates
This is a Cambridge University fund for undergraduate students with unforeseen financial difficulty. You must be a candidate for: BA (including affiliate students), BTh, MB, BChir, VetMB, MusB, CGCM, MEng, MMath, or MSci.
UK students must have applied for their full entitlement of student Maintenance Loan from the SLC before submitting an application to the Bell, Abbott, and Barnes Funds. Students are furthermore expected to have applied for all other statutory and institutional awards to which they are entitled. This includes the Maintenance Grant or Special Support Grant (or equivalent in Scotland, Wales or NI).
In addition, you should also have sought assistance from the following sources, where relevant:
- The Cambridge Bursary Scheme
- Faculty- or Department- managed funds (for instance, the Rebecca Flower Squire Fund for Law students),
- Hardship support from your own College
You could receive up to a maximum of £2,000 in one year, based on assessment of your need but most grants are in the range of £100 to £1000.
University Hardship Fund for Postgraduates
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 will encounter unforeseen financial difficulties. The University Hardship Fund accepts applications four times per year. Recently, the application guidance and forms have changed. They are now available on the University's website.
Other University Hardship Funds
The Crane's Charity provides financial assistance to any student of the University who needs treatment for physical or mental illness and who can demonstrate financial need. In all cases, treatment should not be conveniently or readily obtainable under the NHS. After reading the eligibility criteria and application guidance, students can apply themselves directly to the Medical Support Fund (Crane's Charity) using this form (may currently be under modification).
The Special Hardship Fund, provides financial assistance to students who:
- Are intermitting and have no other available financial support, or
- Are Ukrainian students and are experiencing financial hardship, or
- Are on a Year Abroad at the University of Cambridge.
Students should check their eligibility, read the application guidance and apply on this form. Contact your Tutor in the first instance, but you can also contact the Student Finance Officer for more advice.