Student and finance
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 2023/24
  • EU Hardship Fund 2023/24
  • What Just Happened Fund
  • Helena Kennedy Foundation
  • Mayflower Award
  • Care Leavers Bursary
  • Summer Support Fund 2022/23
  • Career Development 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 stating which award you are enquiring about.

Financial Support Fund 2023/24

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.
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EU Hardship Fund
The EU Hardship Fund opens on 2 October 2023.
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 Minimum Required Provision (MRP) of £207 per week will be applied to full-time EU applications (£166 to those with dependents or who have a disability).
The EU Hardship Fund is open from 2 October 2023 and will close at midday on 31 May 2024. Please note that final year students must submit their completed and fully documented applications by 10 May 2024, unless their course finishes after the 31 May. In that case they can apply until 31 May 2024. Late applications cannot be considered. The University will only consider one application per person to this fund 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 Student Services Hub by calling +44 1752 587676, or by email at
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).
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:
Mayflower Award (University of Plymouth’s Access Bursary) 2023 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 an access 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
  • Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) communities.
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 2023, 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 (if applying for an award under household income) or received the full funding package from your funding body if you are a Care Leaver, Estranged Student Young Adult Carer or Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) communities.
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 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 Mayflower award T&Cs for further details.
Care Leavers Bursary
The Care Leaver Bursary is part of the Mayflower Award, please see full Terms and Conditions.
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:
  • Care Leavers should contact Student Funding Unit by to enquire of their eligibility.
  • 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.
Summer Support Fund 2022/23
Summer Support Fund is now closed.  The opening period for 2022-23 was: 5 June 2023 – 1 September 2023
The Summer Support Fund can provide basic assistance for students who are unable to work during the summer period (up until the end of August) for personal or health reasons, or due to course-related restrictions, and forms part of the University of Plymouth Financial Support Fund. 
A finite amount of money is available in the Summer Support Fund budget and awards are intended to form a contribution toward costs; therefore, they should neither be considered as a main source of income nor relied upon or anticipated in advance. Once available funds have been exhausted, no further applications can be considered.

Who can apply?
Essential criteria – you must meet all of these:
  • You are a full-time undergraduate
  • You have ‘home’ status
  • Your tuition fees for the year have been paid in full
  • You have received the full entitlement of a maintenance loan
  • You have used up all available credit (this includes your overdraft) and this must be visible on your bank statement.

Qualifying categories – you must be in at least one of these:
  • A student who has dependents under the age of 14 and who has applied for all benefit entitlements. Before contacting us, please liaise with UPSU Advice for a benefit check to ensure that you are getting your full entitlement and provide evidence of this outcome. UPSU Advice contact details: +44 1752 588373,
  • A student who is ill or has a disability and is, therefore, unable to undertake work, and for whom other benefits are not available. You will need to provide documentary evidence from your doctor or the hospital that states that you are unfit to work for a specified period
  • A student who is the primary and recognised carer of a disabled or seriously ill person
  • A student on an integral (not voluntary) placement throughout the summer vacation, who has no other income source once the maintenance loan has been exhausted. Applications for the 2022/23 Financial Support Fund will be taken into account and included in our calculation
  • A student who is unexpectedly required to resubmit elements of their course, either in or out of attendance across the summer, where this prevents them from seeking work. Please note that assistance may be limited to four weeks
  • A care leaver or estranged student. You must provide evidence of any housing or living cost support from a local authority and outline why you are unable to support yourself, as it is expected that you will have secured work during the vacation.

You are not eligible to apply for the Fund if you meet one of these criteria:
  • You are a final-year student (unless you are required to resubmit elements of your course during the summer). Please note you must apply before the date of your final deadline.
  • You are a non-final-year student who is simply unable to find work and does not fall within one of the above categories. You are a postgraduate student. It is assumed that postgraduate students have made realistic provision for their studies and the cost of living throughout the summer period and are, therefore, not expected to apply other than in an emergency situation
  • You are a postgraduate, EU or international student
  • You are studying at Partner colleges including UPIC
  • You are on Degree Apprenticeship course
  • You are on a Distance learning course.

For an application form, please email or phone +44 1752 587676.
Sanctuary scholarships

Sanctuary scholarships are a financial support package for students who may have difficulty accessing home fees due to their immigration status. They are for any students living in the UK (however, priority is given to individuals living in the Plymouth area). Each Faculty offers one scholarship per year, meaning there are three scholarships available annually. Each scholarship includes:

  • a full fee-waiver for the entirety of the undergraduate course
  • £1000 per year toward study costs (for the first three years)
  • a fully-funded pre-sessional English course (to ensure scholars meet IELTS 6.0 requirements).

Find out more about the Sanctuary scholarships

Career Development Bursary
This bursary, worth up to £250 is intended to help you access career development opportunities that would otherwise not be possible due to the costs involved.
What can be funded?
The bursary is for extra-curricular career development activities such as:
  • expenses associated with work experiences including placements, internships or volunteering
  • attending industry and/or sector specific conferences
  • attending career networking events
  • membership of professional organisations relevant to your career aspirations
  • attending accredited and non-accredited training courses relevant to your career aspirations.
You can apply for funding for more than one activity/event on one application, but you must specify how each one will enhance your career development.  If you are successful, we will ask you to provide us with a brief case study outlining your experiences and how the activity helped you meet your career goals. This will be used (with your permission) on the University’s website and in publications.
What cannot be funded with the bursary?
  • Activities unrelated to skills development such as statutory professional registration fees, sports clubs and societies.
  • Field trips, placements or other excursions that are a core part of your course.
  • Costs for activities which have been covered by another budget such as the Career Insight Bursary or the Santander Scholarship.
  • Costs above the £250 limit.
Who can apply?
  • UK Home undergraduates whose household income has been assessed by the Student Finance provider as under £35,000 per year.  You should also have applied for all available funding including that funding which is means-tested. 
  • Students from areas where few people access higher education (low-participation neighbourhoods) * or from a disadvantaged socioeconomic background.
  • Black, Asian, mixed heritage or students from another minority ethnic group.
  • Disabled students or students with a mental health condition, medical condition or specific learning difference.
  • Neurodivergent students for example autistic or dyslexic students, students with ADHD or Tourette's – although this list is not exhaustive.
  • Mature or over 21 when they start their first degree
  • Care-leavers
  • Caring for another vulnerable adult
*Low Participation Neighbourhood: An area where a low percentage of students progress to higher education. You can check to see if your home postcode qualifies by entering the postcode on the Office for Students webpage.  Your postcode qualifies if it shows as POLAR4 – Quintile 1. Quintile 1 means this is an area where the fewest students progress into higher education.

Application process
You can complete the application form during the following application periods:
Autumn term: 1 October – 1 December 2022
Spring term: 1 February – 15 April 2023
Summer term: 15 May – 30 June 2023
We will assess your application at the end of the application period together with all others. If you are successful, you will be paid through the Bursary Administration System directly into your bank account. 
If you have any questions, please just get in touch with us at any time in the Careers Service via the Careers Hub
Fees and funding advice