Accessibility statement

One year on: Supporting unforeseen costs

Posted on 30 March 2021

Thanks to the generosity of our donor community, York was one of the first universities in the country to launch an Emergency Student Support Fund (ESSF) at the end of March 2020 at the start of the UK’s first national lockdown.

Two students walking on campus

Since then York students have had regular opportunities to apply for grants of £500 to help with unforeseen costs that arise as a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

So far it has given over £1.3m of financial support to over 2,500 students.

The fund is supported by the University and donations from alumni, friends and supporters, through the Office of Philanthropic Partnerships and Alumni (OPPA). One in ten staff members have donated to York Unlimited over the year. A further 220 retired staff have also given to the fund.

One student this fund has helped is Luke, a Maths student who usually depends on part-time work to pay his rent and bills, but was unable to secure this in the autumn due to the impact of Covid restrictions.

Thanks to a grant from the ESSF he was able to access the help he needed and concentrate better on his studies.

And for our postgraduate researchers, restrictions in laboratories and fieldwork have necessitated fundamental changes.

By the end of 2021, we will have distributed approximately £2m to support funding extensions for PhD researchers most impacted by Covid-19 restrictions.

Thanks to the Wolfson Foundation and other private donors, we made a Postgraduate Research Writing-up+ Support Fund available for postgraduates experiencing financial hardship as a result of Covid-19 during their writing-up phase or submission extension.

We are celebrating all that colleagues from across the University have done to keep our students safe and supported over the last 12 months with a series of stories on these pages.