Accessibility statement

Student Support Fund policy

Student Financial Support (SFS) offers limited financial support to students who are experiencing unexpected financial difficulties. This support includes the Student Support Fund and the Summer Vacation Fund. Other financial support from the University may be available.

This policy outlines:

  • eligibility for support 
  • how assessments are made 
  • how information collected is stored

This policy has been written with the University's legal duties under the Equality Act 2010, and the University's obligations under relevant data protection legislation including the General Data Protection Regulation, in mind. This policy operates in conjunction with the University's commitment to promoting widening participation.

Prior versions of this policy are available upon request from sfsu@york.ac.uk. The policy is reviewed annually each August at the beginning of the University’s academic and financial year.

Further information on the application and assessment processes can be found within the Student Financial Support guidance.

Responsibilities

1. Responsibilities

(a). Responsibility for the administration of the University of York Student Support Fund sits with Student Financial Support (SFS), based in Student and Academic Services.

(b). The Assistant Registrar: Research & Financial Support is responsible for the overall delivery of services within SFS. Responsibility over administrative procedures sits with the Student Services Manager for SFS. Procedures are regularly reviewed and updated where necessary.

(c). Students applying to the funds are responsible for ensuring that the information they provide as part of the application process is factually correct. Where it is discovered that students have knowingly provided inaccurate or incorrect information, SFS reserves the right to withdraw the student’s application and/or withhold any further financial support. 

Consent and data

1.2 Consent to share

Applications to all funds are treated as confidential. However, in limited circumstances, it may be necessary to share details of an application internally. By applying to the funds governed by this policy, students are confirming that they agree to their applications being shared in the following way, if required:

(a). Students may be referred to the Student Advisers before a decision on their application can be made. This is to ensure that the University is offering the best possible support to the student and/or because further information is required. In these instances, SFS will share the student’s application with the Student Advisers for a limited period of time, until a meeting with the advisers has taken place. 

(b). On occasion, further information may be sought from the student’s academic department for clarification (for example, to confirm meeting dates or assessment requirements). Personal information and information disclosed within the application process will not be released to the academic department.

1.3 Data management

(a). Data Storage

Applications and supporting documentation are held securely electronically on SFS’s online cloud. Access to this cloud is restricted to members of SFS.

Additional supporting documentation submitted via email will be held securely electronically within Gmail. Access to this mailbox is restricted to members of SFS.

Information on the awards made will be held within the University’s databases on Agresso and SITS for financial reporting.

(b). Data Sharing

Where data is shared to members of the institution as outlined under 1.2 of this policy, it will be done so securely via named access on the staff-only online cloud and access will be for a limited time period. 

Information regarding the student’s academic standing will be requested via email and no information from the application form will be divulged.

(c). Deletion of Data

Supporting documentation is securely destroyed once one full academic year has passed. For example if a student applies to the 2020/21 fund their supporting documentation will be destroyed on 1 August 2022.

Additional supporting documentation submitted via email will be removed after six full academic years have passed. For example if a student submits evidence within the academic year 2020/21, their supporting documentation will be destroyed on 1 August 2028.

Applications to the fund will be destroyed once six full academic years have passed. For example using the above example, the application form will be destroyed on 1 August 2028. A basic record will be kept confirming that an application was submitted but that it was later removed for reporting purposes within the form’s responses spreadsheet

Should a student withdraw their application, or the application is closed due to no response from the student, the application and supporting information submitted will be destroyed immediately. A basic record will be kept confirming that an application was submitted but that it was later removed for reporting purposes within the form’s responses spreadsheet.

Application dates and availability of funds

2. SFS Managed Support Funds

2.1 Application Dates

The Student Support Fund will be open for a limited period of time with no exceptions considered on an individual basis. However, following consideration by the Academic Registrar, overall opening dates may be revised and/or adjusted in relation to national and global demand. Further information on the dates can be found within the SFS guidance.  

2.2 Availability of Funds

The levels of funding available within the Student Support Fund for undergraduate home students are dependent on the terms of the Access and Participation Plan that corresponds to the current academic year (where the University is in a position to supplement the budget beyond the terms of the Access and Participation Plan, the additional funds may be ring-fenced for students meeting specific criteria).

Funding is donated to the Student Support Fund by YUSU and GSA at the University of York to support international students at all levels of study.

Funds are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis following an application process.

Eligibility

2.3 Eligibility

(a). Eligibility criteria

Students applying to each of the aforementioned funds must meet set criteria as outlined within the SFS guidance. When a student does not meet the criteria, but is considered to be experiencing exceptional circumstances, SFS will make a recommendation to the Assistant Registrar: Research and Financial Support for consideration.

(b). 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.

(c). 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 experiencing difficulty during their leave of absence period are expected to make an appointment with a Student Adviser via the Self-Referral Form online in the first instance.

Exceptions will only be granted in extreme cases or where there is a risk of life, and only following approval from the Assistant Registrar: Research and Financial Support.

(d). 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.

(e). 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. 

Awards

2.4 Award options

When an application to the Student Support Fund or the Summer Vacation Fund has been deemed successful, applicants may be awarded a non-returnable grant, a repayable loan, or a mixture of both. SFS will convey successful outcomes via an outcome letter sent to the student by email to their University email address. Where a loan is offered, the student will have the opportunity to decline the amount before it is issued to them.

2.5 Maximum award

The maximum award that can be made from the Student Support Fund in each academic year of the student’s studies is £3,000. The maximum award that can be made to a postgraduate research student in their continuation period is £350.

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.

Assessment process

2.6 Assessment Process

(a). Assessment duration

For all funds, 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. 

(b). Level 1 Assessment

All applications to the Student Support Fund will be assessed 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 outgoings) 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).

(c). 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. An award may then 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.

(d). 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.

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.