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Student Support Fund

The purpose of the Student Support Fund is to help financially support students and relieve financial hardship that might impact on a student's ability to study and participate in higher education. Please be aware that it is not the main level of financial support available to students. We explain on this page who is eligible to apply, how to apply, and what the fund covers.

The University's Student Support Fund is a discretionary fund which can, depending on circumstances, provide students with a non-repayable award to support them with unforeseen costs or changes to their financial situation.  The fund is not a bursary or scholarship nor is it expected to be able to fully resolve all students’ situations. It exists to support students who are in hardship and will also offer an additional contribution if your current position has been caused by a range of unforeseen circumstances. 

The fund will not provide large sums to those who have not made realistic provision for their studies, for example it will not cover amongst other things, debt owed to the university, tuition fees, or visa and immigration related expenses.

What are the basic rules?

The basic rules for the Student Support Funds are:

  • You must be based in the UK and enrolled on a full-time or part-time undergraduate or postgraduate course at either Sunderland campus, University of Sunderland in London, or a partner college.
  • You must be identified as a current student by your Faculty. This will be verified with University records.
  • You must have applied for all funding which is available to you from Student Finance, applied for relevant benefits (where applicable), used any savings and applied for and used the overdraft facilities on your student bank account. You will also be expected to have sought part time work alongside your studies and if not, explain why you have been unable to do so.
  • You are expected to have taken reasonable steps to maximise your income and minimise your expenditure.
  • The fund cannot be used to pay tuition fees.
  • The fund cannot provide support for costs of living during vacation periods unless they fall within the criteria of the fund.
  • One application is permitted per student per academic year.


How does the University define ‘financial hardship’?

The University’s Student Support Funds Office will perform a means-test using a common assessment process to ensure a fair and transparent calculation, looking at the difference between expected income and reasonable expenditure. See our SSF Guidance Notes 2023 to 2024 for full details. 

The University is keen to support all eligible students and this fund is available to those students who are in genuine hardship despite making adequate financial provision for their studies. As such we require as part of the application process that you submit bank statements, which should cover 3 months up until the date of application. Statements for all accounts should be submitted, including secondary or online savings accounts (e.g. all UK and overseas accounts, PayPal, Monzo, Revolut, and any cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin etc).  Statements will also be required of your partner’s accounts (if applicable) and joint accounts.

The bank statements must be provided in PDF or other appropriate format and must show the account holder name, account number, transaction details and running balance. Online account statements are acceptable, but mobile phone screenshots cannot be accepted. If you do not hold a bank account in your name and use parental accounts/credit cards to pay for living expenses, you will need to provide statements/evidence of those accounts so that the Student Support Funds Office can determine that you are in financial hardship.


What do I need to do?

You need to:

  • Answer all the questions on the SSF Application Form, then read and sign the Declaration.
  • Provide us with all applicable supporting evidence.
  • Allow up to 20 working days once all the relevant paperwork and evidence has been submitted for us to process your application and we will contact you by email with the outcome.


How long will it take for me to hear the outcome?

We aim to email you with the outcome of your application within 20 working days of the date you submit your final required piece of evidence. If you do not complete the application form fully and provide the correct evidence, we will not be able to process your application. 


If I am awarded a payment, how will I receive it?

If you are awarded a payment from the fund, this will be paid to you via the University’s Aspire (StudyPLUS) online payment platform, which you can then easily transfer to a UK bank account of your choosing. You will receive detailed guidance on this when you receive the outcome of your application.


Where do I send the completed Application Form?

Please email your completed application form and all supporting evidence to: studentsupportfund@sunderland.ac.uk


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