Cambridge University releases new information about Hardship Funding during COVID-19

The email informs students how they can seek help for coronavirus-related financial difficulty

An email sent to all Cambridge students this afternoon (April 14th) from Finance and Studentships informed them of new plans for an “updated” University Hardship Funds procedure amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

The email encourages students to make further and alternative steps to getting the help they need: “students should also explore Departmental, Funding agency and all other available support in addition to completing their College’s Hardship Fund application and speaking to their College Tutor.”

“Students who find themselves in unexpected financial need due to Coronavirus (Covid-19) can apply to University Hardship Funds in the following ways:”

These are as follows:

For short term costs: All students, including those who have intermitted, can access The Special Hardship Fund. The Special Hardship Fund operates on a rolling basis for those affected by the coronavirus, for example with the cost of flights. It is open to all students, including those who have intermitted this year, and is limited to a £1000 limit.

For long term costs: the Bell, Abbott and Barnes grant, which usually awards termly payments, is now running applications every month, starting in mid-May. Those set to struggle with maintenance or rental costs in Easter term can apply to this fund with a breakdown of expenditure and income. Grants are limited to £2000 but typically range from £100 to £1000.

The measures themselves, which require students to rely on Tutors and Senior Tutors to apply for funding, have been difficult for some students, such as Christ’s 2nd year student Hollie Wright, who says:

“The current system is hard to navigate. I’m lucky that my tutor is really lovely and sorting through most of it himself, but honestly I’m unsure of how exactly it is structured.” She suggests that “in order for the whole process to be more transparent, other areas such as rent adjustments need to made clear and standardised too.”

Postgraduates seeking financial help are advised to speak to their tutors about The Postgraduate Hardship Fund which is open to all PhD students (including those in their first year)

The email also directs students wanting help with childcare costs to  The Childcare Bursaries and Support Funds and those needing support with mental wellbeing to Crane’s Charity. 

This email from the University comes 3 weeks after an email chain was leaked from the English Faculty, debating whether hardship funds would cover the costs of laptops for students who might need one to complete work in Easter Term.

Featured image credit: Flickr, sps1955