Accessibility statement

Student Financial Support guidance

Student Financial Support (SFS) offers limited financial support to students who are experiencing unexpected financial support. This support includes the Student Support Fund and the Summer Vacation Fund.

This guidance sits alongside the Student Support Fund policy and includes:

  • the purpose of each of the available funds
  • the application process for the aforementioned funds, including dates available
  • how applications will be assessed
  • the student’s right to appeal

1. Student Support Fund

1.1 Application dates

The Student Support Fund is open for a limited period of time with no exceptions. In 2021/22, the opening periods are as follows:

Undergraduate students
Applications are open from 1 October 2021 until 5pm on Friday 06 May 2022. All supporting documents must be received by 5pm on Friday 20 May 2022.

Postgraduate Taught students
Applications are open from 1 October 2021 until 5pm on Friday 12 August 2022. All supporting documents must be received by 5pm on Friday 26 August 2022. Students studying on a PGT programme are expected to have sufficient provision in place prior to beginning their studies.

Postgraduate Researchers
Students are welcome to submit applications all year round to the Fund, but cannot apply within the first month of their studies; students are expected to have sufficient provision in place prior to beginning their studies.

Students who are experiencing unexpected financial difficulty outside the relevant application period should make an appointment to speak with a Student Adviser in the first instance via the Self-Referral form.

Students may apply to the Student Support Fund as many times as they wish within the academic year until they have reached the maximum total award available to them (see section 1.4), providing new evidence is provided to document a change in circumstances since the previous application has been made.

1.2 Eligibility

1.2.1 Availability of funding

Money for the Student Support Fund is limited; once this money is allocated SFS is unable to offer any further financial support in that academic year. Funds are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis following an application process, and in line with the assessment criteria set out within this document. 

1.2.2 Eligibility criteria

The Student Support Fund is open to students who meet all of the following criteria:

  1. Be currently fully-registered* or within the continuation period on a degree-awarding programme (with the exception of Degree Apprenticeships - see 1.2.3 below) at the University of York, including full-time, part-time**, sandwich courses, periods of placement, providing the degree is a minimum of one year in length
  2. Or be registered on an approved leave of absence from the University for any reason, except where leave of absence is due to progression issues
  3. Have already taken out the full entitlement*** of student support before applying to the Student Support Fund. This includes taking out the maximum tuition fee and maintenance loans available to them from their funding provider, and making full use of any interest and charge-free overdraft facility attached to their bank account(s)
  4. Are able to demonstrate that they made realistic and sufficient financial provision before starting their studies (including applying to their funding provider for support prior to advertised deadlines)
  5. Are normally resident within the UK for the duration of their studies.

*Students with a shadow record at the University (ie students receiving funds from a grant held at York, such as a Centre for Doctoral Training, but who are registered to study elsewhere), are not eligible. Students registered on a Hull York Medical School (HYMS) programme and who are registered at the University of York are covered by this policy. Those registered at the University of Hull are not.
**Part-time students must be studying at least 25% of a full time course. Any award will be prorated to match the intensity of the course.
***Where a student’s parents/sponsors have refused to complete a financial assessment form which prevents students from taking out more than the non means-tested element of the loan, they may still be eligible for support. However, further information may be required - SFS will contact applicants to advise.

1.2.3 Degree Apprenticeships

Students studying on a Degree Apprenticeship programme will not normally be eligible to apply for financial support, unless there is evidence of unexpected and unforeseen circumstances, such as a car break-down which prevents them from travelling to the University to attend the study element of their programme. Students studying on a Degree Apprenticeship who are experiencing financial difficulties should discuss their personal circumstances with their employer in the first instance.

1.2.4 Leave of absence

From 01 October 2021, Home undergraduate students who are on an approved leave of absence from the University for any reason, except where leave of absence is due to progression issues, may apply for support during the leave period.

International and postgraduate students on a leave of absence period are not normally eligible for financial support, unless the financial support is to enable the student to return to their studies from their period of leave. 

Students on a leave of absence who are struggling financially are expected to explore other avenues of support, including applying for external sources of funding that may be available to them, or speaking with their landlord about rent deadlines.

Students on leave of absence may seek assistance with any of the above by speaking with a Student Adviser by completing the Self-Referral form.

1.2.5 Exchange rates

Students are not eligible to apply for financial support on the grounds that:

  • the difference in exchange rates between the home currency and the GBP has left the student with less money than planned for the current academic year
  • there is an economic crisis in their home country. 

Students are expected to consider other options, such as leave of absence or deferral.

1.2.6 Online and Distance Learners

Students studying online only or by distance learning are not eligible to apply for financial support. Students are expected to consider other options, such as a leave of absence or deferral. 

1.3 Award options

Successful applications may be awarded a grant, a loan, or a mixture of both.

1.3.1 Grants

If the award has been offered as a grant, the student will not be required to repay the award. 

1.3.2 Loans

Depending on the student’s financial situation and whether there is evidence of any incoming funding, an award may be offered to a student as an interest-free loan. Where a loan is offered, SFS will contact the student to confirm they are happy to receive this money before the loan is issued to them.

Students are expected to pay any loans back within 10 working days of receiving incoming funding, or by the date agreed with the student. Students can set up a payment plan by contacting the Fees Office (fees-office@york.ac.uk) in the event that they are unable to repay the loan by the date specified.

By accepting a loan, students acknowledge that failure to repay the loan may result in their details being passed to a third party debt collector who will work on behalf of the University of York to recoup the loan.

1.3.3 Outstanding emergency loans

If the student has outstanding existing emergency loans debt, an award from the Student Support Fund may be awarded as a grant and used to pay off these loans before any remaining money is paid to the student. The student will be made aware of this within their outcome letter.

1.3.4 University accommodation debt

Where it is felt to be in the student’s best interests, an award from the Student Support Fund may be used to pay off some or all existing University accommodation debt before any money is paid to the student. The student will be made aware of this within their outcome letter.

1.3.5 Third party payments

The University will not usually make direct payments towards third party debt on behalf of the student, unless there is a risk that the student is unlikely to pay the debt themselves and it is deemed beneficial if this debt were cleared. The student will be made aware of this within their outcome letter.

1.4 Award value

1.4.1 Maximum award

The maximum award that can be made from the Student Support Fund in each academic year of their studies for a full-time student is £3,000, and £1,500 for a part-time* student. 

The maximum award that can be made to Postgraduate Researchers in their writing-up or an extension period is £350.

*Part-time students must be studying at least 25% of a full-time course.

1.4.2 Leave of Absence
Home undergraduate students on an approved leave of absence may be awarded a maximum of £3,000 during their leave period, regardless of whether or not they have received a previous award from the Student Support Fund in that academic year.

Home undergraduate students who have returned from a leave of absence period may be awarded up to a maximum of £3,000 from the Student Support Fund, regardless of whether they received an award while on the leave period or not.

1.4.3 Award use

Where an award is made, there is an expectation that the student may not be able to maintain the level of lifestyle that they are accustomed to. Students are expected to use any awards made to them to ensure that they pay off any high priority debt, before using the award on other items, such as clothing or restaurant meals.

High priority debts include:

  • Secured loans (eg loans that are secured against a student’s home)
  • Rent arrears with the possibility of imminent eviction
  • Council Tax
  • Fines and maintenance orders
  • Gas and electricity charges with the possibility of disconnection
  • Tax and VAT
  • National Insurance contributions
  • Hire purchase/conditional sale agreements for goods that are essential for the student to retain. 

Where a student specifies on their application form that they have a car, assessments can only include car related costs for students who require a vehicle due to a disability or medical condition, for students with dependents, or for students who will require a car to travel to placements.

1.5 Assessment process

1.5.1 Assessment duration

It may take up to four weeks for the student to be informed of the outcome of their assessment from when they submit all their supporting documentation to SFS. If students are requiring financial assistance in the interim, they should consider applying for an emergency loan.

1.5.2 Level 1 assessment

All applications will be assessed for a standard award in the first instance by calculating the difference between the student’s assumed income and their reasonable outgoings to determine if the student has a shortfall in their expenses. 

In order to establish a student’s income, two elements are used: composite living costs (the outgoing) and the assumed income (which assumes income over and above funding from the student’s relevant Student Finance body, from a number of sources, including part-time work, support from family, a bank overdraft, and savings accounts*).

*Balances on any savings accounts are taken into account, regardless of whether they have been earmarked for a specific purpose or not.

  • Composite living costs
    All assessments are calculated in relation to composite living costs are, based on national standards for expenditure set by the National Association of Student Money Advice (NASMA). For 2021/22, this is set at £87 per week for a single student with no child dependents under 16. Composite living costs take into consideration general living costs for items such as food and utility bills.
  • Assumed income
    For full-time undergraduate students there is an assumed income, set at £1,910 per standard year of study, £1,274 for a penultimate year, and £637 for final year students. 

    For full-time postgraduate students a minimum weekly income amount is applied to standard assessments. This is set at £182 per week. For students with children or who are unable to work due to a disability, this amount will be £145 per week.

1.5.3 Level 2 assessment

Where the Level 1 assessment has shown that the student does not have a shortfall in their expenses, or where an award has been made that is less than the maximum award available, a Level 2 assessment will be conducted, taking into consideration the individual’s circumstances as detailed within their application form. 

Students are expected to have made reasonable financial provisions before embarking on their current year of study. However, occasionally events occur that cannot be planned for. These may include, but are not limited to, flooding, fire, burglary and theft, or unexpected family bereavements.

An award may be made where the student has demonstrated that they have experienced unexpected and unforeseen exceptional circumstances. Costs for disabled students not met by the Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) may also be considered.

1.5.4 International and Postgraduate Students

The Level 1 assessment will be conducted to determine whether or not international or postgraduate students have made sufficient financial provision prior to commencing their studies.

If the Level 1 assessment shows that sufficient provision has been made, a Level 2 assessment will be conducted taking into consideration the individual circumstances advised within the supporting statement on the application form.

1.6 Appeal process

Students have the right to appeal the outcome of their application where they feel they can provide further evidence that was not included in the original application. Appeals cannot be considered further without new evidence attached.

Students may not appeal the decision:

  • because they are not content with the outcome
  • where an award has been made below the maximum award level advised in 1.4
  • or in cases where no new evidence is provided.

Appeal outcomes will be conveyed to the student within two weeks from when all appeal evidence has been received.

Appeals received more than two weeks after the outcome of their application has been conveyed to the student will not be considered.

2. Summer Vacation Fund

2.1 Application dates

Applications to the Summer Vacation Fund are open by invitation only. Invitations are sent to eligible students in late May.

Students who feel that they meet the criteria listed in 2.2 below but who have not received an invitation to apply by 1 June, should make an appointment with a Student Adviser to discuss their personal circumstances via the Self-Referral form.

2.2 Eligibility

2.2.1 Availability of funding

Money for the Summer Vacation Fund is limited; once this money is allocated SFS is unable to offer any further financial support in that academic year. Funds are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis following an application process, and in-line with the assessment criteria set out within this document.

2.2.2 Eligibility criteria 

Applications to the Summer Vacation Fund are by invitation only. Invitations will be sent to students who meet the following criteria;

  • Have a fee status of Home*

and meets one of more of the following criteria

  • Has a disability or medical condition which will prevent them from seeking employment during the summer months
  • Has caring responsibilities for children under 16 or adult dependants that will prevent them from seeking employment during the summer months. 

You are ineligible for support from the Summer Vacation Fund if you have been unable to successfully find paid employment during the summer months but would otherwise have been able to work.

*A home student is defined as a person who meets the following residency conditions;

  • Is a UK national or has ‘settled status’ (no restrictions on how long you can stay) 
  • and is ordinarily resident in the UK for three years prior to the start of the programme of study not for the purpose of receiving full time education.

You may also be considered a home student if you are an EEA/Swiss migrant worker or Swiss employed person or if you are the spouse/civil partner or child of an EEA migrant worker, Swiss employed person or Turkish worker. 

2.2.3 Degree Apprenticeships

Students studying on a Degree Apprenticeship programme will not normally be eligible to apply for financial support, unless there is evidence of unexpected and unforeseen circumstances, such as a car break-down which prevents them from travelling to the University to attend the study element of their programme. Students studying on a Degree Apprenticeship who are experiencing financial difficulties should discuss their personal circumstances with their employer in the first instance.

2.2.4 Leave of absence

Students on a leave of absence period are normally not eligible for financial support, unless the financial support is to enable the student to return to their studies. 

Students on a leave of absence who are struggling financially are expected to explore other avenues of support, including applying for external sources of funding that may be available to them, or speaking with their landlord about rent deadlines.

2.2.5 Online and Distance Learners

Students studying online only or by distance learning are not eligible to apply for financial support. Students are expected to consider other options, such as a leave of absence or deferral. 

If you need any assistance with any of the above, please speak with a Student Adviser via the Self-Referral form.

2.3 Award options

Successful applications may be awarded a grant, a loan, or a mixture of both. Only one award may be offered per application and students are expected to budget their finances for the duration of the summer period.

2.3.1 Grants

If the award has been offered as a grant, the student will not be required to pay this money back. 

2.3.2 Loans

An award may be offered to the student as an interest-free loan, depending on the student’s financial situation and whether there is evidence of any incoming funding. Where a loan is offered, SFS will contact the student to confirm they are happy to receive this money before the money is issued to them.

Students are expected to pay any loans back within 10 working days of receiving incoming funding, or by the date agreed with the student. Students can contact the Fees Office (fees-office@york.ac.uk) to set up a payment plan in the event that they are unable to repay the loan by the date specified.

By accepting a loan, students acknowledge that failure to repay back the money may result in their details being passed to a third party debt collector who will work on behalf of the University of York to recoup the money.

2.3.3 Outstanding emergency loans

If the student has outstanding existing emergency loans debt, an award from the Student Support Fund may be awarded as a grant and used to pay off these loans before any remaining money is paid to the student. The student will be made aware of this within their outcome letter.

2.3.4 University accommodation debt

Where it is felt to be in the student’s best interests, an award from the Student Support Fund may be used to pay off some or all existing University accommodation debt before any money is paid to the student. The student will be made aware of this within their outcome letter.

2.3.5 Third party payments

The University will usually not make payments towards third party debt on behalf of the student, unless there is a risk that the student is unlikely to pay the debt themselves and it is deemed beneficial if this debt were to be cleared. The student will be made aware of this within their confirmation letter.

2.4 Award value

2.4 Maximum award

The maximum award that can be made from the Summer Vacation Fund is determined by the amount of money allocated to the Fund at the beginning of the academic year by the Access and Participation Steering Group.

2.4.1 Award use

Where an award is made, there is an expectation that the student may not be able to maintain the level of lifestyle that they are accustomed to. Students are expected to use any awards made to them to ensure that they pay off any high priority debt, before using the award on other items, such as clothing or restaurant meals.

High priority debts include:

  • Secured loans (eg loans that are secured against a student’s home) 
  • Rent arrears with the possibility of imminent eviction 
  • Council Tax 
  • Fines and maintenance orders 
  • Gas and electricity charges with the possibility of disconnection 
  • Tax and VAT 
  • National Insurance contributions 
  • Hire purchase/conditional sale agreements for goods that are essential for the student to retain. 

Where a student specifies on their application form that they have a car, assessments can only include car related costs for students who require a vehicle due to a disability or medical condition, for students with dependents, or for students who will require a car to travel to placements.

2.5 Assessment process

2.5.1 Assessment duration

It may take up to four weeks for the student to be informed of the outcome of their assessment from when they submit all their supporting documentation to SFS. If students are requiring financial assistance in the interim, they should consider applying for an emergency loan.

2.5.2 Level 1 assessment

All applications will be assessed for a standard award in the first instance by calculating the difference between the student’s assumed income and their reasonable outgoings. 

In order to establish a students income, two elements are used: composite living costs (the outgoing) and the assumed income (which assumes income over and above funding from the student’s relevant Student Finance body, from a number of sources, including part-time work, support from family, a bank overdraft, and savings accounts*).

*Balances on any savings accounts are taken into account, regardless of whether they have been earmarked for a specific purpose or not.

  • Composite living costs
    All assessments are calculated in relation to composite living costs are, based on national standards for expenditure set by the National Association of Student Money Advice (NASMA). For 2021/22, this is set at £87 per week for a single student with no child dependents under 16. Composite living costs take into consideration general living costs for items such as food and utility bills.
  • Assumed income
    For full-time undergraduate students there is an assumed income, set at £1,910 per standard year of study, £1,274 for a penultimate year, and £637 for final year students.

    For full-time postgraduate students a minimum weekly income amount is applied to standard assessments. This is set at £182 per week. For students with children or who are unable to work due to a disability, this amount will be £145 per week.

2.5.3 Level 2 assessment

Where the Level 1 assessment has shown that the student does not have a shortfall in their expenses, or where an award has been made that is less than the maximum award available, a Level 2 assessment will be conducted, taking into consideration the individual’s circumstances as detailed within their application form. 

Students are expected to have made reasonable financial provisions before embarking on their current year of study. However, occasionally events occur that cannot be planned for. These may include, but are not limited to, flooding, fire, burglary and theft, or unexpected family bereavements.

An award may be made where the student has demonstrated that they have experienced unexpected and unforeseen exceptional circumstances. Costs for disabled students not met by the Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) may also be considered.

2.5.4 International and Postgraduate Students

The Level 1 assessment will be conducted to determine whether or not international or postgraduate students have made sufficient financial provision prior to commencing their studies.

If the Level 1 assessment shows that sufficient provision has been made, a Level 2 assessment will be conducted taking into consideration the individual circumstances advised within the supporting statement on the application form.

2.6 Appeal process

Students have the right to appeal the outcome of their application where they feel they can provide further evidence that was not included in the original application. Appeals cannot be considered further without evidence attached.

Students may not appeal the decision:

  • where they are not content with the outcome
  • where an award has been made below the maximum award level advised in 2.4
  • or in cases where no new evidence is provided.

Appeal outcomes will be conveyed to the student within two weeks from when all appeal evidence has been received.

Appeals received more than two weeks after the outcome of their application has been conveyed to the student will not be considered.

Contact us

For enquiries directly related to these funds, contact:

Student Financial Support
+44 (0)1904 324043
sfsu@york.ac.uk 
(Office hours, Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm) 

For other financial queries, you can find the relevant contact details on our contacts webpage

For help and advice, including information on budgeting and alternative sources of support available, please contact our Student Advisers via the online Self-Referral Form.