Bursaries and other funding options

If you're experiencing financial difficulties, a variety of bursaries and funds are available to you, either directly through the University of Plymouth or, if you are a partner college or UPIC student, please contact the partner organisation.

You'll find information on this page about the following bursaries and funds:

  • Financial Support Fund 2020/21
  • COVID Hardship Grant 2021 (now closed)
  • EU Hardship Fund 2020/21
  • What Just Happened Fund
  • Helena Kennedy Foundation
  • Mayflower Award
  • Care Leavers Bursary


Eligible students can only receive one bursary in any given academic year; should you qualify for two or more, you will only be entitled to receive whichever has the highest value. This may mean an adjustment is needed to payment amounts during the year, but you will be advised if this is the case.

Please note that if you are re-assessed at any point during the year, either by Student Finance or by the University, and you are deemed to no longer meet the criteria for the bursary that you have been receiving, no further payments can be made.

For full terms and conditions please email the Student Funding Unit at studentservices@plymouth.ac.uk stating which award you are enquiring about.

Financial Support Fund 2020/21

Are you a home student in significant hardship, either because of extra costs you have to meet or due to an overall shortfall of income?

You may be able to receive help from the Financial Support Fund. This fund provides discretionary financial assistance to help you to access and remain in higher education, particularly if you need financial help to meet additional costs that cannot be met using other sources of support.

The fund can help to alleviate unexpected financial hardship. We particularly encourage students who may be considering leaving higher education because of financial problems to apply.

Opening period for 2020–2021: 5 October 2020–4 June 2021 (final-year students must submit their application and all supporting evidence by 14 May 2021).

Please note that you must be registered on your course and must have received statutory funding before you can apply.

Our Financial Support Fund guidance notes contain more information on conditions and criteria, as well as answers to your FAQs. Download the application formPlease ensure that you submit all relevant supporting evidence with your application form, otherwise the assessment will be delayed.

Need more advice? Visit our support and advice pages.

Please let us know if you require further information.

COVID Hardship Grant 2021

Due to demand, we have closed the scheme to new applications. So far we have allocated over 90% of the funding given to the University by the Office for Students, already supporting over 800 students since it opened on 18 January 2021.

The University’s wider Financial Support Fund 20/21 remains open as well as other types of financial support and relief that students may be eligible for. Please see above for further details. We will continue to lobby government for additional student support and represent your voices and views.

If you have already made an application and are awaiting a decision, we will still continue to assess your application; provided it meets our criteria and we have funds remaining, we will be pleased to provide you with a financial award. You will hear our decision by Friday 5 March, please avoid contacting the Student Hub prior to this to check on progress, because the team are busy making assessments.

If you have any questions, please contact studentservices@plymouth.ac.uk or call 01752 587676.

*Students studying at partner institutions should contact their institution for financial hardship advice and support.

Thank you.

EU Hardship Fund

This fund provides discretionary financial assistance to help you to access and remain in higher education, particularly if you need financial help to meet additional costs that cannot be met using other sources of support. The fund can help to alleviate unexpected financial hardship. However, if you are an EU student, you need to have income that covers your living and housing costs in the first instance before we can consider you for an award.

To reflect this, a Notional EU Income (NEI) of £190 per week will be applied to full-time EU applications (£152 to those with dependents or who have a disability).

The EU Hardship Fund is open from 5 October 2020 to 4 June 2021. Please note that final year students must submit their completed and fully documented applications by 14 May 2021, otherwise we will be unable to consider your request for financial assistance. The University will only consider one application per person to this fund in each academic year.

Although some EU students may receive some support from the EU Hardship Fund, it will not be sufficient as an income in its own right and can only be seen as a supplement to funding from other sources. The fund cannot pay tuition fees.

Awards to successful applicants are capped as follows:

  • Those with dependants/disabilities may receive up to £500.
  • Final year students without dependants may receive up to £400.
  • Non-final year students without dependants may receive up to £300.

For an application form, please contact the Student Funding Unit by calling +44 1752 587676, or by email at studentservices@plymouth.ac.uk.

If you are a home student, please complete the Financial Support Fund application form.

What Just Happened Fund

The What Just Happened Fund provides help for you and your family if you’re receiving emergency hospital care. It was established in 2013 thanks to Plymouth graduate April Watkins and matched funding from the University.

The fund provides limited financial support for you and/or your close family or friends for costs incurred at short notice if you unexpectedly require treatment for a serious injury or illness while you’re studying at the University. The available financial help can be used toward the cost of travel, accommodation, and food and drink during the stay.

April had the idea for the fund while recovering from emergency surgery and chemotherapy to treat a brain tumour. Fortunately, her father was able to stay with family in Cornwall while visiting her in hospital, but the situation got April thinking about those whose families might struggle to afford the costs of visiting their loved one.

Determined to make a difference, April set about fundraising through events such as masked balls, pub quizzes and cake sales, and was overwhelmed by the level of support she received.

April, who graduated in September 2013 with a 2:1 in Sociology, donated the money raised to the University to establish the fund.

‘It is my hope that this money will mean that someone else in my position—in hospital, hundreds of miles from home—can have the support of their loved ones by their bedside,’ she says.

Claims to the fund can be made retrospectively all year round by completing and returning the application form to the Student Funding Unit (see our contact details on this page).

Download the What Just Happened Fund application form

Helena Kennedy Foundation

The Helena Kennedy Foundation offers support to disadvantaged students who have overcome significant barriers in order to continue with their education at university level. Each year, the Helena Kennedy Foundation invites further education colleges, adult education centres and sixth form colleges to nominate a student to receive a £1,500 bursary sponsored by the University of Plymouth to support their progression to higher education.

Application forms and eligibility criteria are available online.

The University does not administer the Helena Kennedy awards. For further information, please contact the foundation by email: admin@hkf.org.uk

Mayflower Award, 2020 entry

The University of Plymouth is proud to offer students a life-changing, transformative experience while they learn and research. We also know that embarking on such an exciting experience can be daunting and that students from particular groups may face additional difficulty in accessing higher education.

To support the University’s ambitions around widening participation, we are pleased to offer financial support in the form of a bursary (The Mayflower Award) to undergraduate students from the following groups:

  • Students whose household income is between £0 and £35,000 per year
  • Care leavers
  • Students who are estranged from their families
  • Young adult carers

Students from a household where the annual income is less than £35,000 per year will have their eligibility checked for the award automatically once a full funding application has been assessed and finalised with Student Finance England. The award is paid in two instalments in the student’s first year of study. All eligible recipients will be automatically identified from the systems of the University and Student Finance England, no separate application is needed. This award is available to students who are entering their first year of study on their first course in September 2020, who are identified as being domiciled in England and whose household income is between £0 and £35,000. Please note that this award is payable only in the first year of study and will not be repeated in subsequent years.

Students from one of the other above groups must contact the Student Funding Team as soon as they have enrolled at the University of Plymouth so that we can assess eligibility and organise for any bursary to be paid. The award is allocated on a first-come, first-served basis and if you are eligible you will receive the bursary for the duration of your undergraduate studies, subject to T & C’s.

For all Mayflower Award recipients you must be paying the full tuition fee for the year and have received the full funding package from Student Finance England.

Please note that payment is dependent on satisfactory attendance and withdrawal or interruption will result in the award being cancelled.

If you have been engaged in any previous higher education study on any course, you will not be entitled to this award. This includes not completing all or part of a course or not gaining a qualification on it.

It is students’ responsibility to declare whether they have had any previous higher education study, particularly if undertaken at a different institution or in previous years at the University of Plymouth, as we may not be able to identify this from our record systems. If you have been earmarked or contacted for the Mayflower Award but fall into the previous study category, you should contact studentservices@plymouth.ac.uk as soon as possible, as your eligibility may change or be cancelled and you could be asked to repay part or all of the award.

Please note that if you are re-assessed at any point during the year by Student Finance or by the University, your award could be amended or cancelled.

Partner College students, including UPIC students, whose fees are paid directly to the college at which they are studying, are NOT eligible for this award.

See the full terms and conditions for further details.

Care Leavers Bursary – changes for students who commenced a course after September 2018

Students who begin a course at the university from September 2019 can be considered for an award provided that they have taken out the full student funding package from Student Finance England/Wales/Norther Ireland and have been given Care Leaver Status by one of these funding bodies.

Please note:

  • Partner college including UPIC students are not eligible for this award from the University of Plymouth and should instead enquire about any available support from their college.
  • Students who are not funded by Student Finance England/Wales/Northern Ireland but instead receive a grant/grants for their studies or tuition fees are not entitled to the award.
  • Students who have already gained a degree are not eligible to receive the Care Leavers Bursary.
  • Students who have had previous study where a bursary was paid can only be considered for an award on an individual basis, subject to circumstances (i.e., usually if extenuating circumstances are involved). Any previous bursary award will be taken into consideration so if your application is successful, the bursary may not be payable for the entire duration of your studies.