Summer financial assistance fund

A fund for students in financial difficulty over the summer to help them access and remain in higher education.

You should apply if you need extra financial help to meet costs that are not covered by other sources of support.

You can also apply if you have had a financial emergency and may not be able to continue your studies.

Eligibility

To be eligible for the summer financial assistance fund, you must be a non-final year UK undergraduate in one of these categories:

  • You are taking resit exams, or retaking elements of your course during the summer vacation.
  • You have caring responsibilities for a child or adult dependent.
  • You have an illness which prevents or limits your ability to work.
  • You are from a Foyer background, a care leaver, estranged from both parents or have no living parents.
  • You have been granted Refugee status by the Home Office
  • You have been unable to find summer work as a direct result of the Coronavirus pandemic.

You must have applied for the full statutory support to which you are entitled during an academic year.

You will also be eligible if you are a final-year UK undergraduate resitting or retaking elements of your course, including your dissertation. If you're in this situation and you also meet any of the above criteria, you are advised to state this on your application form.

Students who choose not to work or to undertake voluntary or unpaid work are ineligible unless they are in one of the categories above.

Part-time students, postgraduate students or if you've suspended your studies 

Part-time students are eligible to apply but are expected to have made provision for living costs. You are only eligible to apply for financial help for certain course costs that are not met from other sources, eg books, photocopying, travel costs or childcare. If you are a part-time student who started your course after 2012, you must be studying at least 25% of an equivalent full-time course.

Postgraduate students are not eligible to apply and should instead apply to the Postgraduate Financial Assistance Fund.

Students who have temporarily suspended their studies are eligible to apply to this fund.

Students from outside the UK

EU students who satisfy the residency requirements (relating to their residence and immigration status on the first day of the first academic year of the course) may be eligible to apply. EU undergraduate students who meet these criteria also need to have taken out their full entitlement of student loan for living costs.

Overseas and EU students who do not meet the residency criteria are not eligible to apply.

Students studying a second degree

If you are studying for your second undergraduate degree, you can apply to the fund but will not be considered a priority for assistance, unless you are studying medicine, dentistry or veterinary science. Such students are not eligible to receive the standard undergraduate loan and grant package of UK funding support, apart from supplementary grants such as Childcare Grant and Disabled Students Allowance. You will be expected to have made realistic provision for your tuition fees and living costs before the start of their course. Students with previous study will find that their UK statutory support for future years will be affected so if you are concerned about the possibility of resitting a year, please contact the Student Funding Office for funding advice.

Award

The award will be made in the form of a grant. It does not need to be repaid.

The fund exists to help any eligible student in financial difficulty, however we can't guarantee there will be sufficient funds to meet every application we receive or all the costs a student might apply for. The fund should not be seen as a main source of funding.

Any awards received from the main Financial Assistance Fund during the 2020/2021 academic year will be taken into account. If you have already received £2,800 or more from the Financial Assistance Fund during this academic year, contact the Student Funding Office before applying to the summer fund.

How to apply

Applications for the 2021 summer financial assistance fund will open on 21st June 2021.

A link to the application form will be available on this webpage between 21st June and 17th September 2021.

Short-term loans

You may be able to apply for an interest free short-term loan if you are in need of immediate funds while your Financial Assistance Fund application is being assessed.

Assessment process

The summer assessment period depends on how many weeks there are in your academic year. For example, if your course duration is a standard 38 weeks, you could be assessed for 15 weeks over the summer.

Standard applications will be assessed by looking at assumed income against essential expenditure.

Income

The income we include for you in the assessment will depend on your personal circumstances. For example, if you live with your partner we will also include their income, including means-tested benefits.

Expenditure

There are set expenditure levels based on figures used by the Department for Work and Pensions to cover general living costs (eg food, utilities, mobile phone bills, TV licence, clothes, home contents insurance, entertainment, clubs and societies). The amount we include depends on your personal circumstances, for example if you have children.

We have limits in place for particular expenditure items, such as rent, course costs and a contribution to housing deposit, where applicable.

Car expenses are only considered for essential car users. These include medics, vets and social work students who are on placement, students with children or caring responsibilities and disabled students.

Non-priority debts - including credit cards, store cards, loan repayments (where the loan is not secured on your home) - will not be included as expenditure in your application. However, if you can provide evidence that you have negotiated or have unsuccessfully attempted to negotiate a reduced repayment plan with your creditor to lower the amount you spend on your non-priority debts, we may be able to include this reduced amount. We may include expenditure for repayment of loans to family or friends on a case-by-case basis.

The Student Funding Office is not licensed to give debt advice. If you are struggling with debts, you may wish to seek guidance from organisations such as Citizens Advice Bureau and Talking Money. We are not responsible for debt advice given by third party organisations.

If you are studying any of the following courses, please contact the Student Funding Office before applying to the fund. You may be asked to fill in a different application form.

  • Medicine
  • Dentistry
  • Veterinary Science
  • Veterinary Nursing and Bioveterinary Science

Funding enquiries or money worries

Undergraduate and general funding queries:
student-funding@bristol.ac.uk

Call our Information Point:
Tel:+44 (0)117 428 3000

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