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FAQ

Other Funding Sources

Whilst the University Hardship Fund is one of the main sources of extra funding that UK students can apply for if they are struggling financially during their course, there are a number of other options and funding organisations that may also be considered.

Here we explore a few of those options.

Are you getting what you are entitled to?

This may seem like an obvious question, but it's worth checking that you are definitely receiving the correct amount of student finance funding

For example, have you moved out of your parents' home into your own accommodation part-way through an academic year? If so, you need to make sure that Student Finance England know about this, as you should be eligible for the higher 'Elsewhere Rate' of Maintenance Loan, instead of the 'Parental Home' rate.

Some students are still entitled to government means-tested benefits while studying, for example Universal Credit. While most full-time students cannot claim, some can - mainly lone parent students and disabled students. 

Also, have you informed Tax Credit Office that you are now a student? We often see students who were working prior to becoming a full-time student and have either given up work or dropped their hours of work in order to study. You need to inform the Tax Credit Office about your change of circumstances and drop in income, as this will affect the amount of Tax Credits you are eligible to receive. Simply call the Tax Credits Helpline (0845 300 3900) to discuss changes in circumstances with them.

Feel free to contact or call into see us if you need further guidance on any of the above.

University of Sunderland Futures Fund

Although this is not directly for 'financial hardship, the University of Sunderland's Futures Fund offers scholarships to help you pay for course-related activities that you might not otherwise be able to afford, to help boost your subject knowledge/experience and graduate employability.

 

Charities, Trusts & Foundations

There are a large number of charities, trusts and other funding organisations in the UK that can offer financial support to students in need. Their funding is often limited, so may only provide contributions on the basis of exceptional need or circumstances.

Some of the organisations have a broad remit, such as the Wellcome Trust, but others have tighter criteria and may only fund certain individuals on certain courses e.g. Pharmacist Support, a charity that can provide financial assistance to Master Pharmacy students.

A great way of searching for funding organisations that might be suited to your circumstances is to use grants search engines at websites such as Turn2us. Postgradaute students could also check Target Courses and Professional Aid Council.

 

Scholarships

The University of Sunderland offers each new intake of students a range of scholarships before they commence their course. Although some are automatically awarded, other scholarships you have to apply for by a certain deadline. If you are going to commence an undergraduate course, you should make sure that you have applied for all the scholarships you are eligible for. If you are awarded a scholarship make sure you know when the scholarship payment is being made, so that you can plan for this. For more information on University of Sunderland scholarships see here

Postgraduate students can search for scholarships from other organisations using specific search engines such as Scholarship Search, Postgraduate Studentships, or Target Postgrad.

Employment

Surveys indicate that around 50% of full-time students have part-time jobs during term-time.  Most students work during the summer vacations too, as Student Finance funding does not cover this period of the year. 

Importantly, any earnings you receive do not affect the amount of student support funding you receive. However, they may affect any Tax Credits or means-tested benefits you may be eligible to claim.  Contact the University’s Careers and Employability Service at the Gateway, for guidance on finding part-time work - and contact or call into see us in Student Financial Guidance  if you need to discuss how your earnings may affect your benefits claim e.g. Housing Benefit.

Other ideas

It may also be useful to contact your Faculty of study, as they may have information on sources of funding in addition to what is available from the Student Financial Guidance team. Staff on your course might be aware of funding that previous students have been awarded.

If your course is a vocational course, further information may also be available from the national professional body for your chosen career. Ask your course or programme leader if you need any further information.

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