Plymouth University Hardship Fund

By | 23rd August 2017

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Plymouth University Hardship Fund

Plymouth University Hardship Fund

If you’re experiencing financial difficulties there are a variety of bursaries and funds available to you, either directly through Plymouth University or partner organisations.

You’ll find information on this page about:

  • the Summer Support Fund 2017
  • the Financial Support Fund 2016/17
  • the What Just Happened Fund
  • the Office for Fair Access (OFFA) access agreements
  • the Helena Kennedy Foundation
  • The Mayflower Award, 2017 entry
  • Young Adult Carers Award 2017.

Summer Support Fund (SSF) 2017
Guidance for application

What is the Summer Support Fund (SSF)?
The Summer Support Fund can provide basic assistance for students who are unable to work during the summer period (up until the end of August) for reasons of either health, personal, or course related restrictions, and forms part of the University of Plymouth Financial Support Fund.

There is a finite amount of money in the Summer Support Fund Budget and awards where made are intended to form a contribution toward costs, therefore should not be considered as a main source of income nor relied upon or anticipated in advance. Once available funds are exhausted, no further applications can be considered.

Who can apply?
Essential criteria – you must meet all of these:

  • You are a full-time undergraduate.
  • You have ‘home’ status.
  • Your tuition fees for the year are paid in full.
  • You are in receipt of the full entitlement of a Maintenance Loan.
  • You must have used up all available credit (this includes your overdraft) and this must be visible on your bank statement.

Qualifying categories – you must be in at least one of these:

  • A student who has dependents under the age of 14 and who have applied for all benefit entitlement. Before contacting us, we will expect that you have already liaised with UPSU Advice for a benefit check to ensure that you are getting your full entitlement and provide evidence of this outcome. UPSU Advice contact details: 01752 588373 / advice@su.plymouth.ac.uk.
  • A student who is ill or has a disability and are therefore unable to undertake work, and for whom other benefits are not available. You will need to provide documentary evidence from your doctor or the hospital that states you are unfit to work for a specified period.
  • A student who is the primary and recognised carer of a disabled or seriously ill person.
  • A student on an integral (not voluntary) placement throughout the summer vacation, who has no other income source once the Maintenance Loan has been exhausted. 2016-17 applications to the Financial Support Fund will be taken into account, and included in our calculation.
  • A student who is unexpectedly required to resubmit elements of their course either in or out of attendance across the summer, where this prevents them from seeking work. Please note that assistance may be limited to four weeks.
  • A Care Leaver or Estranged Student. You must evidence any housing or living cost support from a Local Authority, and outline why you are unable to support yourself.

You are not eligible to apply for the fund if:

  • You are a final-year student.
  • You are a non-final year student who is simply unable to find work and does not fall within one of the categories above.
  • It is assumed that postgraduate students have made realistic provision for their studies and the cost of living throughout the summer period and are therefore not expected to apply.
  • You are an EU or international student.

How to apply
Application forms will be available from 5 June 2017. Please e-mail studentfunding@plymouth.ac.uk for a form or call in to the Student Funding Unit on the 4th Floor, Nancy Astor Building. Our opening times are 9.30 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. Monday to Friday.You will be required to provide photocopies of the following documents to support your application. Please note that we will be unable to complete our assessment if you have failed to provide all of those relevant to your personal circumstances so please take time to check that you have done this before submitting your application.

  • One full month’s up to date online bank statement for each bank account that you have (including partner’s if applicable). If you do not bank online then please provide the most up to date postal statement you have along with an over the counter printout from your bank, dated for the day you submit your application. A balance of account will not be acceptable.
  • Recent credit card statement if you have one.
  • Full documentation to support the situation you have told us about in your application.
  • Evidence of any benefits you are currently receiving, e.g. income support.
  • Evidence of your student finance for 2016-2017 – SFE, NHS, CDL, PGL etc.
  • Evidence of Child Tax Credit and Maintenance payments if applicable.
  • Evidence of any other income.
  • Evidence of rent/mortgage (tenancy agreement or mortgage statement) and highlight your payments on copies of your bank statement.
  • Evidence in writing from your faculty confirming your repeat/resubmission/exam retakes.
  • If you are applying because you are unable to work due to a medical condition, it is essential that you provide either a fit note which indicates a period of incapacity, or a letter from your doctor or the hospital to confirm that this prevents you from working.
  • If you are a Care Leaver, evidence of any support you currently received from a local authority.

How will you know if you have been successful?
Application outcomes are sent to your Plymouth University student email account within ten working days from receipt, on the proviso that all required documents are provided at time of application.Payment of awards will be made directly into your designated bank account, although in some circumstances and dependent on the amount, it may be issued in cash.

Please note that any awards allocated after 1 August 2017 will automatically be included as part of your 2017/18 Financial Support Fund allocation, i.e. it will be deducted from any subsequent award that you receive.

Financial Support Fund

Please note that the Financial Support Fund is now closed.

Are you in significant hardship, either because of extra costs you have to meet or due to an overall shortfall of income? You may be able to receive help from this fund.

This fund provides discretionary financial assistance to help you access and remain in Higher Education, particularly if you need financial help to meet extra costs that cannot be met from other sources of support. The fund can help to alleviate unexpected financial hardship. We particularly encourage students who may be considering leaving Higher Education because of financial problems to apply.

Opening period for 2016-2017: 3 October 2016 – 2 June 2017 (Final year students must submit their application and all supporting evidence by 12 May 2017.)
Please note, you must be registered on your course and you must be in receipt of statutory funding before you can make your application.
Our Financial Support Fund guidance notes contain more information on conditions and criteria and answers to your FAQs. Please download the application form or alternatively visit Student Funding Unit to collect it.
Need more advice? Visit our support and advice pages.

EU Hardship Fund 2016-17

Please be aware that this fund has now closed.

If you are an EU student and find that you are in significant hardship, either because of extra costs you have to meet or due to an overall shortfall of income you may be able to receive help from this fund.

The EU Hardship Fund provides discretionary financial assistance to help you access and remain in higher education, particularly if you need financial help to meet extra costs that cannot be met from other sources of support. The fund can help to alleviate unexpected financial hardship. We particularly encourage students who may be considering leaving higher education because of financial problems to apply.

Opening period for 2016-2017: 3 October 2016 – 2 June 2017 (Final year students must submit their application and all supporting evidence by 12 May 2017.)

Please note, you must be registered on your course and you must be in receipt of the tuition fee loan before you can make your application.

Our EU guidance fund notes contain more information on conditions and criteria. Please download the application form or alternatively visit Student Funding Unit to collect it.

What Just Happened Fund

The What Just Happened Fund provides help for you and your family if you’re receiving emergency hospital care. It was established in 2013, thanks to Plymouth graduate April Watkins, and matched funding from the University.

The fund provides limited financial support for you– and/or your close family or friends – for costs incurred at short notice if you unexpectedly require treatment for a serious injury or illness while you’re studying at the University. The financial help available can be used towards the cost of travel, accommodation, and food and drink during the stay.

April had the idea for the fund while recovering from emergency surgery and chemotherapy to treat a brain tumour. Fortunately, her father was able to stay with family in Cornwall while visiting her in hospital, but the situation got April thinking about those whose families might struggle to afford the costs of visiting their loved one.

Determined to make a difference, April set about fundraising through events such as masked balls, pub quizzes and cake sales, and was overwhelmed by the level of support she received.

April, who graduated in September 2013 with a 2:1 in Sociology, donated the money raised to the University to establish the fund.

“It is my hope that this money will mean that someone else in my position – in hospital, hundreds of miles from home – can have the support of their loved ones by their bedside,” she says.

Claims to the fund can be made retrospectively all year round by completing and returning the application form to The Student Funding Unit (see our contact details on this page).

Download the What Just Happened fund application form

The Office of Fair Access (OFFA) access agreements

Through its access agreements approved by the Office for Fair Access (OFFA), the University has committed a proportion of its income from tuition fees to support your access and success if you’re from a lower income background or other under-represented group. During 2014-15, this proportion will be 22.7% of income above the basic fee level.

You’ll find the University’s access agreements on the OFFA website.

The Helena Kennedy Foundation

The Helena Kennedy Foundation offers support to disadvantaged students who have overcome significant barriers in order to continue with their education at university level. Each year, the Helena Kennedy Foundation invites FE Colleges, Adult Education Centres and Sixth Form Colleges to nominate a student to receive a £1,500 bursary sponsored by Plymouth University, to support their progression to higher education.

Application forms and eligibility criteria are available online.

The University does not administer the Helena Kennedy awards. For further information please contact the foundation, email admin@hkf.org.uk

The Mayflower Award, 2017 entry

The Mayflower Award is available to students who are entering into their first year of study on their first course in September 2017, who are identified as being domiciled in England and whose household income is between £0 and £35,000.

You must be paying the full tuition fee for the year and be in receipt of funding from Student Finance England.

The amounts of the award are broken down by household income into two Bands as shown in the table below;

Band Houshold income between Amount of Mayflower Award
Band 1 £0 and £25,000 £1,000
Band 2 £25,001 and £35,000 £400

This award is granted automatically – no separate application is needed. All eligible recipients will be automatically identified from University and Student Finance England systems.

Payments will be made in two instalments, on Friday 10 November 2017 and Friday 23 February 2018.

Please note; payment is dependent on satisfactory attendance.

If you have had ANY previous Higher Education study on any course, you will not be entitled to this award.

If you are entitled to receive the Mayflower award you will be sent a letter informing you of this in October or November 2017, provided that you have been fully assessed for your funding by Student Finance England.

Please note that the Mayflower Award is payable only in the first year of study and will not be repeated in subsequent years.

Young Adult Carers Award 2017

The University encourages students and applicants who are Young Adult Carers to make contact with the Student Funding Unit to work out a package of support during their studies, ensuring that you have the best possible student experience.

We know that not all students will want to use this service and there is no obligation to do so, but by making us aware of your situation, you could be able to receive additional financial and / or pastoral support.

In the first instance, there is a University of Plymouth Young Adult Carers Award worth up to £1200 per academic year, depending on individual circumstances.

In addition to this we would like to support you with a range of student services which will take your situation as a carer into consideration. We also have links with Improving Lives Plymouth’s Caring For Carers group to ensure that both you and the person you are caring for are receiving the external support you need.

Everyone is different. That’s why we’ll work with you to create a personalised package of support. This package can be reviewed at any time to suit you.

Here are some ways we might be able to help:

  • Meeting you at University events, such as open days, interview and applicant days.
  • Providing you with student funding help and advice and helping you to complete student finance forms.
  • Signposting you to the other support services available at the University and liaising with them as necessary.
  • Supporting you with academic issues, including liaising with your faculty and tutors should you wish.
  • Being someone to talk to if you need to.
  • Providing support and advice before you start your course.
  • Being a dedicated point of contact within the University.

Who is a young adult carer?
Young adult carers are:

  • Aged between 18 and 25.
  • People who care for or look after a family member, friend or other individual, due to disability, chronic or terminal illness, mental health difficulty or drug/alcohol dependency or another reason. The Young Adult Carer does not need to live at the same address as the person they care for. Young Adult Carers often juggle their caring responsibilities with University study yet many Young Adult Carers do not realise that they are undertaking a caring role.

Managing caring responsibilities alongside student life can at times be challenging. It is for this reason that we want to ensure that Young Adult Carers receive appropriate support to enable them to effectively balance their academic studies with their caring responsibilities.

Claiming Carers’ Allowance
Typically, full-time students are not eligible to claim Carer’s Allowance. If you are claiming Carers’ Allowance prior to starting your university course, your eligibility for this benefit will cease when you enrol at university.It is important that you notify the Benefits Agency that you have started full-time study to make sure you do not accrue subsequent overpayment.

To arrange an initial chat or for further information, please get in touch with our friendly Student Funding Unit team via email at studentfunding@plymouth.ac.uk with ‘2017 Young Adult Carers’ in the subject field.