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University awards £500k to help students impacted by pandemic

Posted on 30 October 2020

More than 800 students have received financial support totalling over £500,000 from the University’s Emergency Student Support Fund - launched in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The fund, which is being supported through donations from alumni, friends and supporters of the University, was launched in March and was believed to the first of its kind in the UK.

In addition, the fund was expanded to include an IT Equipment Bursary for students and new starters who need help to afford a laptop or other IT needs related to online learning. 

The IT Bursary gave out 276 awards totalling £131,900, over two-thirds of which went to students just starting their course.

Of those who received support from the Emergency Student Support Fund:

  • almost half were from a widening participation background
  • 37% were mature students
  • 20% were international postgraduates
  • almost a third were from a BAME background

Students used the money for a variety of reasons: with 80% of recipients putting part of the award towards food and living expenses, more than half using it to pay for accommodation and 23% used the bursary for help with studying.

Extremely grateful

Mary Haworth, Director of Philanthropic Partnerships and Alumni, said: “We are extremely grateful that our community of supporters stepped in to help with this emergency support funding at a time of great uncertainty for our students. Their concern for the welfare of our students has been demonstrated in so many ways over the last few months including through mentorship, ongoing support for our scholarship programmes as well as the emergency appeal. We cannot thank them enough for their generosity and support.”

Maria Bibi, who is studying Business and Management, said: “This award helped me to break down the barriers against me studying. Having the right support financially took away the added stress and pressure, putting my mental health at ease.”

“This Fund is important for those like myself who have no parents, no family, and no support other than myself to get by. It helps me to feel normal and be able to buy the things I need and not be singled out and struggle being on my own while trying to support getting an education.”


Chloe Wescott, studying English Literature, added: "This award has helped me to continue to financially support my family and care for my sister and mother, during this time of great upheaval. Your kindness and generosity in this moment of international upheaval and turmoil is deeply appreciated.” 

“Students at York are incredibly resilient and relentlessly work hard to make the most of our time studying at this incredible University. We also need support, sometimes, and we have been comforted and proud of the generosity and kindness shown by our Alumni and public supporters.”

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