Skint Summer: Hardship Finance Options for Students

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We bring you the definitive lowdown on university finance options for struggling students during the summer

Many of us are feeling the pinch that comes with living in the uncertain economic situation uniquely presented by COVD-19; some more than others.

While circumstances outwith COVD-19 often result in students applying to access funding through the University or other organisation regardless, the trying times are an added burden in the long quest to not rip out your hair at 3AM in a maniacal panic.

Fortunately, there are a few options for students experiencing particular financial difficulties out there; lets run them down shall we?

Jacqui Lenaghen, Head of Accessibility and Inclusion Service and Student Services Hub has comment on options to possibly help students out.

Discretionary Fund from the Scottish Government

Support is available for Scottish, English, Northern Irish and Welsh Undergraduate and Postgraduate students who are enrolled on a full-time or part-time course and are in receipt of a loan or grant from their funding body, where available.

This support is via the 2020/21 Discretionary Fund which is the funding that the Scottish Government announced approximately 3 weeks ago and although it is not new funding it allows universities to access their next year’s Discretionary Fund early to help support students with their general living costs, over the summer and on into the academic year.

5m hardship fund for Scottish students announced ‹ Glasgow Guardian
Sturgeon announcing further hardship funds for students. Credit: JPI Media

University of Stirling Student Assistance Funds

Support is available for enrolled Undergraduate Nursing students, EU and International Undergraduate and Postgraduate students to assist with their general living costs, over the summer and on into the academic year.

Isabella H Stevens Loan Fund

The Isabella H. Stevens Student Loan Fund was established by Mr. Stephen E. Stevens in memory of his wife, to assist full-time Scottish, English, Northern Irish, Welsh and European Undergraduate students who are in, or may be facing, financial difficulty.

Any loan offered from the Isabella H. Stevens Student Loan Fund has to be paid back when the individual is earning over £17,000 but it is their responsibility to let us know when they are in a position to repay, and the loan is INTEREST FREE. (Woohoo!)

Loan awards are based on the assessment of financial need, determined by a review of the evidence of income and expenditure outlined in your Student Money Support application, and your personal circumstances.

The loan award can be used to support all forms of financial expenses in support of your successfully completion of studies. This is available over the summer and into the next academic year.

University of Stirling Accommodation Enhancement Fund Grant  

The University is offering to refund 20% of costs to eligible students in University Accommodation who have had to use storage/packing/courier services for their belongings since 29th June 2020. The funding is being made available from the University of Stirling Accommodation Enhancement Fund.

University of Stirling raises £50m from private security placement ...
Image credit: University of Stirling

If you’ve been using any storage/packing/courier services get applying for that refund! Anything you can get frankly at this point with the honestly, in my opinion, disastrous year for university accommodation.

Students wishing to apply to any of the above funds or loan fund during the summer should email the Money Team at ask@stir.ac.uk  

Please get back to us with your experiences of using these funding options, and how effective they are, or have been for you. Time will tell exactly how effective these funding options have been for students experiencing real hardship.

Feature image credit: Libby Welch / Alamy Stock Photo

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