Student Support Fund (SSF)

The student hardship fund logo - a figure falling into a financial safety net

About the fund

The Student Support Fund (SSF) is provided by the University to help students who are experiencing genuine and unavoidable financial difficulties and are struggling with their living costs. The SSF is a discretionary grant, offering support of up to £2,500 in an academic year which does not need to be paid back.  Students who are stuyding in Dubai cannot apply to the SSF but instead should speak to their Welfare Tutor about the  Dubai Emergency Assistance Fund.

This fund is intended to assist with general living and course-related costs, not tuition fees or 'lifestyle choices'.

All applications will be means-tested, therefore some applications will be unsuccessful.

Am I eligible to apply?

Am I likely to receive an award?

How can I apply?

What happens after I apply?

Where can I get more advice?

Am I eligible to apply?

You must be normally registered (except students who are absent for medical reasons) and you must meet the following general criteria:

For Undergraduate students eligible for support from the Student Loans Company or the NHS:           

You must have received at least the first instalment of the maximum Student Loan Company (SLC) Maintenance Loan or NHS Bursary that you are entitled to. 

For all other students:         

You must be able to show that you have at least £180 per week available (or £123 per week if you live with your parents) to you to cover your general living costs and £123 per week per dependant.

This is known as the Minimum Required Provision (MRP) and can be met via a combination of loans, scholarships, savings, sponsorship, etc.

Am I likely to receive an award?

There are two types of awards available:

Standard Awards

Most applications will be assessed for a Standard Award, where your expected income and that of any partner/spouse will be compared against your reasonable expenditure. If there is a clear deficit between the two, we will make a Standard Award to cover the deficit (up to a maximum of £2,500).  Please note however that in carrying out any assessment for students that have been means-tested by the SLC or the NHS, we will include any assessed contribution that parents are expected to be making, whether or not this contribution is actually being paid.  Offical figures regarding these amounts are not always apparent so please refer to our Loan Information Sheet (PDF - 266KB)  for further information.     

All students encounter costs for food, bills, clothes, leisure, plus they may have to pay for rent, travel and course costs, however some students will choose to spend more than others. Therefore, the Student Support Fund will use pre-set values that are considered reasonable for each of these costs.

Exceptional Awards

A small number of students may be faced with unforeseen or exceptional circumstances, such as essential household repairs, emergency situations, court action etc. for which we may make an Exceptional Award as a one-off contribution towards these costs.  Such students should apply in the normal way, as described below.

How can I apply?

Eligible, full-time, single students are able to check their eligiblity and to obtain an application form by completing our online Release Form.  Part-time students and those who are part of a couple, or who have children should email ssf@contacts.bham.ac.uk for further advice.  You must complete a SSF application form in full and provide photocopied or scanned copies of all supporting documentation that is requested on the Supporting Evidence Checklist.  Please note original documents will not be returned.  

What happens after I apply?

You will be notified via your university email account that your application has been received.

A member of Funding, Graduation & Awards may contact you to ask for clarification or for further evidence to allow you application to be processed.

You will receive a decision on your application within four weeks of the application being considered complete. 

Please check your University email account regularly.

Where can I get more advice?

For advice on completing your application form or dealing with financial difficulties, please contact the GuildAdvice in the Guild of Students or contact the Mental Health and Wellbeing team.

If you have any queries about the Student Support Fund, please refer to the SSF Regulations 2019-20 (PDF - 559KB) for further details. If you are unable to find the answer to your question, then please contact Funding, Graduation & Awards.