Study Support Grant: Financial Help During Your Studies

Previously known as the Hardship Fund, the Study Support Grant is a pot of money available for students who are facing financial difficulties. VP Wellbeing & Diversity Henn Warwick tells you all you need to know about how to apply for this fund.

Previously known as the Hardship Fund, the Study Support Grant is a pot of money available for students who are facing financial difficulties.

In order to gain access to the grant you are required to complete an application form, this will be assessed by the Financial Wellbeing team to see whether you meet the criteria for additional financial support from the University. It is important to note that the fund is finite and of course, demand is high. The amount you are awarded is calculated entirely case by case, many factors are considered during the process which is explained below.

You can only apply for the SSG once during the academic year, and the assessment will take into account the full 52-week academic year of continuing students, or 39 weeks for final years.

The application process closes during the summer vacation for undergraduate students.d

What is the Study Support Grant for? 

The Royal Holloway Study Support Grant is provided to support students with the following:

  • Field Trips
  • Theatre Excursions
  • Travel for study
  • Employment or volunteering opportunities directly related to your studies
  • Facing serious short term financial hardship and where there is a possibility of you having to withdraw/interrupt your studies
  • Additional financial support to assist with payment towards living costs such as rent and utility bills
  • Caring responsibilities and/or disabled students
  • Support for those who need to receive a college laptop

Additionally, as students are now required to complete some or all of their studies online, the University recognises that they need to support students without a laptop. So, this year the University has adapted its funding to provide a Digitally Disadvantaged Fund.

This Fund can provide a student facing digital hardship a brand-new laptop. Now, it’s always good to be optimistic but to manage your expectations know that the University will not be providing students with a £1500+ MacBook. The University will provide a laptop that is fit for purpose with all of the necessary features for studying. University students are given free access to Microsoft products which will be accessible on the device.

The turnaround for the Digitally Disadvantaged Fund is quick, you can have your brand-new laptop within 7-10 days of submitting your application. In an emergency situation you will be able to get next day delivery, but there will be a small charge for this service.

To apply for a laptop, apply through the SSG, but express your need for a laptop clearly.

How do I apply?

The application form is nine pages - one page is informational (make sure you read it all before applying), the next seven pages are required to be filled out by you. There is a final page that needs to be completed by your chosen academic reference, best bet is your personal tutor.

There are some sections that may not apply to you and you can simply leave these blank. The first part of the application form (pages 2-4) requires your general details such as full name, student number, course and year of study, term-time address, etc. You will be expected to provide your Student Finance England loan entitlement if you have one.

On page 5, you are given free space to write a supporting statement. For this area, it is entirely your choice how much information you would like to share. This process is entirely confidential, and your statement will not be shared anywhere. I can assure you personally that Student Financial Advice Manager Tina Barnard and Student Financial Adviser Charlene Dawkins are wonderful. They understand the common hiccups of being a student but also are fully prepared to expect the unexpected. They are here to support you and want to provide awards for students to enable them to continue studying.

Page 6 provides a budget table for your average living, travel, and course costs. You are also required to supply three months’ worth of bank statements for all of your bank accounts (that includes your Monzo account, ISA's, or savings). With this information, a standard assessment procedure is used to calculate the level of support required based on the gap between annual income and essential expenditure.

How long until I get the money?

So far, there has been a quick turnaround reported. From the day of your full application form submission, with evidence attached (three months of bank statements, halls or housing contract, SFE Entitlement) and your tutor's reference, the entire process takes two weeks or less. You will be informed of the outcome of your application via your student email.

So, you've decided you need some extra money and you want to apply for the grant? Great news, here is a step-by-step guide of what to do:

  1. Check that you fit the criteria
  2. Complete the Study Support Grant application form. An Advisor from the SU Advice Centre will be able to assist you through this process if needed. 
  3. Contact your personal tutor, or another department member if more appropriate, to complete the Academic Reference on page 9 of the application form. If this cannot be completed for whatever reason please let Tina know.
  4. Ensure you have scanned copies of all supporting documents (that are relevant to you) on page 8 of the application form.
  5. Email your completed application form and supporting documents to Financial Wellbeing.

For some cases, the Financial Advisors may wish to have an MS Teams meeting with you. This is offered to put a friendly face to their name and gives you the opportunity to talk about what has been going on for you.

I need financial support but I don’t meet the criteria

It is always best to check with Financial Wellbeing, but as an alternative to the SSG, the University is able to offer a short term loan of up to £500 to students in need. This is commonly awarded in an emergency situation to assist cash flow issues that are out of your control.

For example, if there has been a delay on getting your Student Finance, this short term loan can assist with your living costs until the issue with Student Finance England has been resolved. Equally, if you are waiting for funds from your parents or any money from abroad you may be able to get a short-term loan. This loan is completely interest-free and an agreed date is set for the repayment.

How do I apply to the short term loan?

  1. Have a read of all of the information before applying for the loan. There is some really important information about the regulations and repayment that you don’t want to miss.
  2. Complete the Loan Application Form. The SU Advice Centre is able to assist you with this process
  3. Gather the photocopies/screenshots of the following supporting documents (that are relevant to you):
    • Three months' worth of bank statements for ALL your bank accounts (ISA, Savings, Current, etc.)
    • Proof of how you are repaying the loan - i.e. regular income from parents/student loan/scholarship, etc.
  4. Send your application to moneymatters@royalholloway.ac.uk. Again, they may want to set up an MS Teams meeting with you to discuss your situation.

Of course, with any application process, it is not guaranteed that you will get funding from the University, but it is strongly advised that you submit an application for the SSG.

This entire process is based on supporting you during your time at Royal Holloway. If you have any questions about the process, please feel free to contact me via email at vpwellbeingdiversity-at-su@rhul.ac.uk or contact Tina and Charlene in the Financial Wellbeing team at moneymatters@royalholloway.ac.uk.