Bucks Hardship Fund

The Bucks Hardship Fund (BHF) provides discretionary financial assistance for students to help them access and remain in higher education.

It is particularly aimed for those students who need financial help to meet specific course and living costs that cannot be met from other sources of support. The fund can provide emergency payments for unexpected financial crises. Payments are usually given as grants, which do not have to be repaid.

Full and part-time students who are in receipt of their maximum financial statutory support package are eligible to apply. Part-time students must be studying the equivalent of 50 per cent of a full-time course.

How Your application for assistance from BHF will be assessed

Your application will be treated either as a 'standard' or a 'non-standard' claim. We will assess 'standard' applications under an additional need method that looks at the difference between accepted reasonable expenditure and expected income. If you have unforeseen circumstances, then your application can be considered under a 'non-standard' assessment.

The assessment process for 'standard' and 'non-standard' awards is designed to identify students who have particular financial needs and those who are in unforeseen financial difficulty. This should result in most of the available funding being directed towards students with a low income and those who have exceptionally high course related costs.

Who can apply?

The Bucks Hardship Fund is for 'home' students registered on a course in one of the following categories:

  • Undergraduate students, either full time or part time, including distance learners, following a higher education course, including sandwich courses and any periods of placement
  • Postgraduate students, either full time or part time, following a course of higher education at a level above first degree, including those who are writing up their thesis and not therefore attending the institution.
  • Postgraduate students must be able to demonstrate that they have explored and applied for grants to fund their course. Please also visit our Postgraduate funding page

A 'home' student is defined as a person who meets certain residency conditions (the same conditions apply to eligibility for student support, for example, the student loan from Student Finance England).

For continuing students, this means you must have an unrestricted right to enter and remain in the UK, and you have been ordinarily resident in the UK for three years prior to the start of the course.

For new students commencing their course in academic year 2016-17, the residency eligibility has been increased to five years. This means you must have an unrestricted right to enter and remain in the UK, and you have been ordinarily resident in the UK for five years prior to the start of the course.

None of this time must have been wholly or mainly for the purpose of receiving full time education.

Overseas and EU students cannot apply to the Bucks Hardship Fund, but may apply for assistance from the Bucks Advantage Bursary Scheme (BABS)

Intercalating Students

If you are a 'home' student and you have not permanently withdrawn from your studies and you intend to return after your time out, you are eligible to apply for help from the BHF or the BABS scheme.

For example, if you are unable to attend your course for health or caring reasons or for some other unavoidable circumstance, you can apply for help. You must provide evidence from your Faculty and your General Practitioner (G.P.) to support your claim.

Priorities for assistance

The fund is there to help any eligible student who has a particular financial need but we cannot meet every application we receive and we cannot always meet all of the costs that you might apply for.

The University gives priority to the following groups of students when deciding how to allocate the funding:

For full time undergraduate students the priority groups are:

  • students with children (especially lone parents)
  • mature students, especially those with existing financial commitments, including priority debts
  • students from low income families
  • disabled students (especially where the DSA is unable to meet particular costs)
  • students who have entered higher education from care
  • students from Foyers or who are homeless
  • students receiving the final year loan rate who are in financial difficulty

For part time undergraduate and postgraduate students the priority groups are:

  • students with children (especially lone parents)
  • students without sponsorship or other funding (postgraduate students)
  • disabled students (especially where the DSA is unable to meet particular costs)

If you are not in one of the priority groups you can still apply but you must provide as much evidence as possible to show why you have a particular need.

You may apply more than once during an academic year for help from the Bucks Hardship Fund but usually only if your circumstances have changed. You will be asked to provide documentary evidence for the change in circumstance.

If you wish to apply for assistance from the Bucks Hardship Fund (BHF), in the first instance, please contact the Students' Union Advice Centre, the telephone number is 01494 603016.