Financial assistance fund

A hardship fund that provides a non-repayable grant from the University of Bristol to help students who may be in financial difficulties.

The Financial Assistance Fund can provide support to students experiencing financial hardship. It is designed to help students that may be forced to withdraw from their studies due to financial difficulties.

The fund is intended to act as a safety net for students who experience unexpected or unavoidable financial problems. The fund is limited and cannot substitute a main source of income.

Applications to the fund are considered consistently in accordance with the fund eligibility criteria, with awards made at the discretion of the University.


You can only apply for the financial assistance fund if you are a fully-registered University of Bristol student. You must also:

  • be in financial difficulty that puts you at risk of withdrawing from university
  • have access to less than £500 across all bank accounts
  • if you are a home student, receive the full maintenance loan.

You can only apply to the Financial Assistance Fund once per academic term.

The fund is available to undergraduate, postgraduate taught/research, home and EU/international fee-paying students. The fund will not accept applications from pre-sessional, visiting or exchange students.

The payments for part-time and temporary withdrawal students will be capped.

Available payments

If eligible for an award, there are three possible payments available from the hardship fund:

  • Level 1 - £250
  • Level 2 - £500
  • Level 3 - £1,000

If successful, our assessors will decide which award you will receive based on the information you provide.
You can receive a maximum of one hardship payment per academic term.

How to apply

Before you apply to the fund:

1. You must ensure you have provided us with your bank details. If we do not have your bank details, we cannot pay you.

2. You must also ensure you have clear bank statements ready for all accounts to which you have access, displaying the live balance as of the date of application.

You can apply for the financial assistance fund via the online application form. This should take 15 – 20 minutes. 

We aim to process all applications within 1 – 2 working days of submission. Applications that are submitted with missing or incomplete evidence may be rejected.

How are awards calculated

Applications to the fund are considered consistently in accordance with the eligibility criteria:

Level 1

Level 1 awards are available where an applicant declares that they are in financial difficulty and can evidence that they have access to less than £500.

Level 2

Level 2 awards are available where an applicant is taking all reasonable steps to alleviate their financial problems but remain in difficulty. This can include:

  • Working a part-time job
  • Using an interest-free student overdraft.

Alternatively, applicants may have:

  • a health-problem
  • excessive debt
  • placement-related costs.

Students must have applied for the full maintenance loan (if applicable), or must evidence that they have made ‘reasonable financial provision’ before starting their course (if applicable).

Level 3

Level 3 awards are only available to applicants who are in full-time study and meet at least one of the following criteria where you:

  • have children
  • caring responsibilities
  • are a care-leaver
  • meet our permanent familial estrangement criteria
  • are presently homeless
  • have been majorly financial impacted by a bereavement in the last three months.

Unsuccessful applications

If your application for financial assistance has been unsuccessful or you are unhappy with your decision, you can email the hardship team at and ask for an explanation as to how your award was calculated. We will only accept appeals and reassess your application on the basis of:

  • New information/evidence not submitted prior to assessment
  • There being an error on your original submission
  • A major material change of circumstances having an adverse financial impact on you.

Further details

If you have questions about the Financial Assistance Fund, email the hardship team at .

Funding enquiries or money worries

Funding queries:

Call our Student Services:
+44 (0)117 428 3000

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