General Principles of eligibility for University hardship funds from January 2021

These principles to be used in addition to the specific rules of individual funds (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 body, 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 take account of expected costs (e.g. 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 (e.g flights) 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 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 who are fully funded by an internal sponsor at Cambridge (e.g the Cambridge Trust) are not usually eligible to be considered for University hardship funding. Internal sponsors are requested to focus on supporting current students to completion even at the expense of making new scholarships in subsequent years. This allows us to focus limited resources on primarily self-funded students who do not have recourse to a sponsor.
  6. 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. Support is not given to support tuition fees.
  7. 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 (e.g. because the hardship was not unforeseen)
  8. Students who face financial hardship whilst on intermission (when funding is normally suspended) may currently apply to the University Special hardship fund only.
  9. The following students are not eligible for support from University hardship funds:
  • Students on non-award bearing courses at the Institute for Continuing Education (ICE) or non-matriculated students taking professional development courses (e.g at the Faculty of Education),
  • 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 doctorates,
  • Those who are off the register/withdrawn,
  • Applicants (i.e.not current students of the University).

See also: A guide to applying to Cambridge University hardship funds (PDF)