Bursaries and other funding options

If you're experiencing financial difficulties there are a variety of bursaries and funds available to you, either directly through Plymouth University or partner organisations.

You'll find information on this page about:

  • the Financial Support Fund 2017/18
  • the What Just Happened Fund
  • the Office for Fair Access (OFFA) access agreements
  • the Helena Kennedy Foundation
  • The Mayflower Award, 2017 entry
  • Young Adult Carers Award 2017.

Financial Support Fund

Are you 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 this fund. 

This fund provides discretionary financial assistance to help you access and remain in Higher Education, particularly if you need financial help to meet extra costs that cannot be met from 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 2017-2018: 2 October 2017 – 1 June 2018 (Final year students must submit their application and all supporting evidence by 11 May 2018.)

Please note, you must be registered on your course and you must be in receipt of statutory funding before you can make your application.

Our Financial Support Fund guidance notes contain more information on conditions and criteria and answers to your FAQs.

Please download the application form or alternatively visit Student Funding Unit to collect it.

Need more advice? Visit our support and advice pages.

EU HARDSHIP FUND 2017-18

This fund provides discretionary financial assistance to help you access and remain in Higher Education, particularly if you need financial help to meet extra costs that cannot be met from 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 £177 per week will be applied to full time EU applications (£142 to those with dependents or who have a disability).

The EU Hardship Fund is open from 2 October 2017 to the 1 June 2018. Please note that final year students must submit their completed and fully documented applications by 11 May 2018 otherwise we will be unable to consider your request for financial assistance. The University will only consider one application 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 will be capped as follows:

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

For an application form please contact the Student Funding Unit by calling +44 (0)1752 587680, by email at studentfunding@plymouth.ac.uk or in person by visiting Floor 4, Nancy Astor Building.

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 financial help available can be used towards 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

The Office of Fair Access (OFFA) access agreements

Through its access agreements approved by the Office for Fair Access (OFFA), the University has committed a proportion of its income from tuition fees to support your access and success if you're from a lower income background or other under-represented group. During 2014-15, this proportion will be 22.7% of income above the basic fee level.

You’ll find the University's access agreements on the OFFA website.

The 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 FE Colleges, Adult Education Centres and Sixth Form Colleges to nominate a student to receive a £1,500 bursary sponsored by Plymouth University, 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, email admin@hkf.org.uk

The Mayflower Award, 2017 entry

The Mayflower Award is available to students who are entering into their first year of study on their first course in September 2017, who are identified as being domiciled in England and whose household income is between £0 and £35,000. 

You must be paying the full tuition fee for the year and be in receipt of funding from Student Finance England.

The amounts of the award are broken down by household income into two Bands as shown in the table below; 

Band Houshold income between Amount of Mayflower Award
Band 1 £0 and £25,000 £1,000
Band 2 £25,001 and £35,000 £400

This award is granted automatically - no separate application is needed. All eligible recipients will be automatically identified from University and Student Finance England systems.

Payments will be made in two instalments, on Friday 10 November 2017 and Friday 23 February 2018. 

Please note; payment is dependent on satisfactory attendance.

If you have had ANY previous Higher Education study on any course, you will not be entitled to this award.

If you are entitled to receive the Mayflower award you will be sent a letter informing you of this in October or November 2017, provided that you have been fully assessed for your funding by Student Finance England.

Please note that the Mayflower Award is payable only in the first year of study and will not be repeated in subsequent years.

Young Adult Carers Award 2017

The University encourages students and applicants who are Young Adult Carers to make contact with the Student Funding Unit to work out a package of support during their studies, ensuring that you have the best possible student experience. 

We know that not all students will want to use this service and there is no obligation to do so, but by making us aware of your situation, you could be able to receive additional financial and / or pastoral support.

In the first instance, there is a University of Plymouth Young Adult Carers Award worth up to £1200 per academic year, depending on individual circumstances. 

In addition to this we would like to support you with a range of student services which will take your situation as a carer into consideration. We also have links with Improving Lives Plymouth’s Caring For Carers group to ensure that both you and the person you are caring for are receiving the external support you need.

Everyone is different. That’s why we’ll work with you to create a personalised package of support. This package can be reviewed at any time to suit you.

Here are some ways we might be able to help:

  • Meeting you at University events, such as open days, interview and applicant days.
  • Providing you with student funding help and advice and helping you to complete student finance forms.
  • Signposting you to the other support services available at the University and liaising with them as necessary.
  • Supporting you with academic issues, including liaising with your faculty and tutors should you wish.
  • Being someone to talk to if you need to.
  • Providing support and advice before you start your course.
  • Being a dedicated point of contact within the University.

Who is a young adult carer?
Young adult carers are:
  • Aged between 18 and 25.
  • People who care for or look after a family member, friend or other individual, due to disability, chronic or terminal illness, mental health difficulty or drug/alcohol dependency or another reason. The Young Adult Carer does not need to live at the same address as the person they care for. Young Adult Carers often juggle their caring responsibilities with University study yet many Young Adult Carers do not realise that they are undertaking a caring role. 

Managing caring responsibilities alongside student life can at times be challenging. It is for this reason that we want to ensure that Young Adult Carers receive appropriate support to enable them to effectively balance their academic studies with their caring responsibilities.

Claiming Carers’ Allowance
Typically, full-time students are not eligible to claim Carer’s Allowance. If you are claiming Carers’ Allowance prior to starting your university course, your eligibility for this benefit will cease when you enrol at university.

It is important that you notify the Benefits Agency that you have started full-time study to make sure you do not accrue subsequent overpayment.

To arrange an initial chat or for further information, please get in touch with our friendly Student Funding Unit team via email at studentfunding@plymouth.ac.uk with '2017 Young Adult Carers' in the subject field.