Postgraduate financial assistance fund

A discretionary fund that provides financial assistance for home (UK) students, helping you to access and remain in higher education.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

If you are experiencing financial difficulty as a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic, please email the Student Funding Office with a brief summary of your circumstances:
student-funding@bristol.ac.uk

Eligibility

You should apply for the postgraduate financial assistance fund if:

  • You need extra financial help to meet costs that are not covered by other sources of support
  • You have a financial emergency that means you're at risk of leaving higher education

The fund exists to help any eligible student who has a particular financial need. However, we cannot guarantee that there will be sufficient funds to meet every application we receive, or all the costs you might apply for. 

When can I apply?

You can apply for help at any time throughout the academic year until 31 July 2021.

Applications are processed in date order. Once funds are exhausted, no further awards are made.

Second applications

We would only expect to see one application per year. A second application would only be considered if there was a significant change in circumstances.

Repayment

Most help awarded from the fund is non-repayable.

How to apply

  1. Download the Financial Assistance Fund application form (Office document, 167kB).
  2. Complete, sign and date the form. Save the document with a file name to include your surname and your student number, i.e. SURNAME 1234567 AppForm01.
  3. Email the form and your supporting documents to faf-mailbox@bristol.ac.uk. Please include your name and your student number in the email subject line, e.g. 'FAF application - John Smith - 1711111'.
  4. Please ensure that you have entered your bank details on the MyBristol portal.

Who can apply?

The financial assistance fund is only available to home (UK) students and EU students who have been resident in the UK continuously for three years prior to the start of their course. International and EU postgraduate students who do not meet the residency requirement are not eligible to apply.

Both full-time students and part-time students are eligible to apply.

If you have suspended your studies due to health or caring reasons you may also apply.

The fund should not be expected to help with core living costs.

Postgraduate students are expected to have made adequate provision for both their tuition fees and living costs prior to the start of their course. Where students have clearly not done so, it may not be appropriate to make an award from the Financial Assistance Fund.

Where eligible, students would be expected to have taken out the postgraduate loan:

Part-time students

  • Part-time students will need to be studying at least 25 per cent (30 credits) of an equivalent full-time course.
  • Eligible part-time students will normally be considered for an award to assist them with their course-related costs only, such as childcare, travel and books.

How your application will be assessed

All applications are means-tested to establish whether there is a shortfall between your income and reasonable essential expenditure. Postgraduate financial assistance fund assessments will cover a 52 week period unless your course finished before this time.

Income

Income for a postgraduate student can be from a variety of sources, eg postgraduate loans, grants, scholarships, part-time work, savings, bank loans or additional parent/spouse support where applicable.

Your net income, and any partner/spouse’s net income, over and above the Minimum Required Provision (MRP) will be counted in full. Where applicable, a partner’s essential expenditure will be included in full to balance this. This includes, where appropriate, income from tax credits and universal benefits. State pensions are disregarded but occupational pensions and savings above the MRP are included.

Expenditure

Expenditure levels for general living costs such as food and utility bills, known as composite living costs, will be used according to set figures. The amount is set depending on your circumstances – usually in the range of £90 per week (for a single student) with higher amounts for students with children or students who are living with a partner.

Composite living costs include the following:

  • Food
  • Utilities
  • Mobile phone bills
  • TV licence
  • Clothes
  • Home contents insurance
  • Entertainments
  • Clubs and societies

Where students have met or exceeded the MRP but their application shows that they still have a shortfall in their income they will be awarded a non-repayable grant.

Minimum Required Provision (MRP) 

Full-time and part-time postgraduate students are expected to have made reasonable provision at the start of the programme to fund both their tuition fees and living costs for each year of their studies.

A student's Minimum Required Provision (MRP) may be from a number of sources. This could include income from the postgraduate loan, earnings, a partner's earnings, savings loans, overdrafts etc.

We use a combined MRP figure to be indicative that the student has made reasonable provision at the start of the course.

This MRP figure is currently £181 per week for single students.

For students with dependants who are financially reliant upon the student, or students who are unable to work due to a disability this figure is £145 per week.

Depending on your circumstances, an additional realistic provision figure may be added to the MRP amount, to determine the overall reasonable provision that the student would be expected to have put in place. The additional realistic provision figure has been calculated based on the set figures for the composite living costs for having a partner or children in the household.

Therefore in some circumstances a lower MRP figure may be used (eg single student living rent free in parental home) or a higher MRP figure may be used (eg student with a working partner and three children).

Students will need to demonstrate that they have met the MRP (below) in order to be considered for support from the postgraduate financial assessment fund.

MRP figure which will be used in the assessment
Applicant's householdMRPAdditional realistic provisionTotal MRP (assuming 52 week period)
Single student £9,620 n/a £9,620 plus your tuition fees
‘Single’ student with working partner £9,620 £2,756 £12,376 plus your tuition fees
‘Single’ student with working partner and 1 child £9,620 £8,632 £18,252 plus your tuition fees
‘Single’ student with working partner and 2 children £9,620 £13,208 £22,828 plus your tuition fees
‘Single’ student with working partner and 3 children £9,620 £17,784 £27,404 plus your tuition fees
‘Single’ student with non-working partner £7,696 £2,756 £10,452 plus your tuition fees
‘Single’ student with non-working partner and 1 child £7,696 £8,632 £16,328 plus your tuition fees
‘Single’ student with non-working partner and 2 children £7,696 £13,208 £20,904 plus your tuition fees
‘Single’ student with non-working partner and 3 children £7,696 £17,784 £25,480 plus your tuition fees
Single parent with 1 child £7,696 £5,876 £13,572 plus your tuition fees
Single parent with 2 children £7,696 £10,452 £18,148  plus your tuition fees
Single parent with 3 children £7,696 £15,028 £22,724  plus your tuition fees
Single student living in parental home and not paying rent £3,640 n/a £3,640 plus your tuition fees

Timetable for making a decision

Once you have submitted a form and provided all the necessary evidence, an assessment and decision should be made within six weeks.

At certain times of the year, the office is very busy and your application may take longer than stated above. You can help by planning ahead, filling in your application form accurately and providing us with all the information we request.

How to appeal

If you are not satisfied with the decision, you may appeal by email to student-funding@bristol.ac.uk.

Any appeal must be made within two weeks from the date of the original decision.

Funding enquiries or money worries

Postgraduate funding queries:
pg-funding@bristol.ac.uk

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