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 provides 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 £100 across all bank accounts
  • If you are a home student, receive the government maintenance loan (unless exempt).

The application windows for the 23/24 academic year are as follows:

  • Term 1: 18 September 2023 - 7 January 2024
  • Term 2: 8 January 2024 - 9 June 2024
  • Summer: 10 June 2024 - 15 September 2024

Please do not submit more than one application during per term unless your circumstances have changed significantly and you believe you meet the criteria for an increase in award level.

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The payments for part-time and temporary withdrawn students will be capped.

Available awards

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

  • Level 1 - £250
  • Level 2 - £500
  • Level 3 - £750

If successful, our assessors will decide which award you will receive based on the information you provide.

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 £100, after reasonable expenses for the term have been considered.

Level 2

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

  • Working a part-time job for a reasonable number of hours per week
  • Using a considerable amount of an interest-free student overdraft

Alternatively, applicants may have:

  • Excessive debt
  • Placement-related costs
  • A health problem preventing or severely limiting their ability to work a part-time job

Home students must have applied for and received the UK government maintenance loan (unless exempt), and international students must evidence that they have made ‘reasonable financial provision’ before starting their course.

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:

Summer applications

Between 10 June and 15 September 2023, applications to the Financial Assistance Fund will be limited only to applicants who meet at least one of the following criteria, where you:

  • have confirmed re-sit examinations or are re-taking elements of your course during the summer term
  • are taking a course with exams in July
  • are a student in Health Sciences undertaking a placement during the summer term
  • have caring responsibilities for a child or adult dependant
  • have an illness which prevents or severely limits your ability to work a part-time job
  • were under 25 at the start of your course and are a care leaver, estranged from both parents, or have no living parents

Final year undergraduate students whose enrolment with the university is due to end in the summer will not be eligible for a FAF award unless they are re-sitting or re-taking elements of their course including dissertation. Postgraduate taught students who are writing dissertations through the summer will remain eligible.

Before you apply

Please ensure you have:

1. provided us with your bank details.

2. prepared screenshots or statements showing the current balance (as of the date of your application) for all accounts that you hold funds in.

We aim to process all applications within 5 working days of submission. However, applications with missing or incomplete evidence could majorly impact our assessment time, and may be rejected.

How to apply

Applications for the 23/24 Academic Year will be open from Monday 18 September 2023

Apply for FAF

Applications for the 22/23 Summer FAF will close on Sunday 17 September 2023

Apply for 22/23 Summer FAF

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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