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Help with hardship funds by NASMA Watch

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    Are you struggling financially and wondering if you can get help with hardship funds?

    Ani has been a student advisor at Ravensbourne for four years. Her main responsibilities include the assessment and payment of bursaries and hardship funds. She is also the financial capability champion for the National Association of Student Money Advisers (NASMA) and chair of the Financial Capabilitiy and Research Working Group.

    Please be aware all answers will be posted on Wednesday 8 February.
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    Hi, Could you kindly outline what NASMA is all about and if I would be eligible to apply for any hardship funds that are available. I am hoping to start university in Sept 2017 to study Adult Nursing, could I get help for myself as well as my child and studies?

    Thanks
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    are hardship funds available for people from low income families? or is it just for those in severe financial difficulty?
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    Hi guys! I just wanted to know if anyone knew of sources that provide financial aid for students doing Medicine as a second degree? A friend of mine has experienced a change of circumstance which means they are unable to pay the next installment of tuition fees. Any pointers will be much appreciated!
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    Posted on behalf of nj1995:

    How long does it take to get a hardship fund approved, and then how long does it generally take to receive?
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    Posted on behalf of TSRHally:

    I have received an unconditional offer from Brunel university and will probably need extra funding.
    My family earns under £25,000 pear year and i am eligible for maintenance grant and loan. after expenses i will just be able to survive with very little money because i will not take that much loan because i will have to pay it back.


    So i heard there is a "Hardship Fund" for under privileged people. I am from a poor area in England and me and my family hardly earn any money. Could i qualify for a hardship fund, if so how much would it be per year?
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    Posted on behalf of Smurf121:

    Hello everyone,I considering applying for a student hardship fund. My father has passed away recently and I now have to rely on my mother for extra financial support. She isn't currently working. My only worry is that my university is looking for bank statements. I have placed a few bets to the value of 50 pounds over the past month and I am wondering will this effect the universities decision?
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    A question from me: Can you explain who hardship funds are for, how people can apply and the general criteria. Are these determined by the universities themselves?
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    (Original post by CJ)
    Posted on behalf of nj1995:

    How long does it take to get a hardship fund approved, and then how long does it generally take to receive?
    Thanks for your question and it is really dependent on if your hardship fund application is with your uni or College. If they have requested additional documents such as bank statements or tenancy details and it is not included when you apply this could delay it. The best thing would be to ask them the approx. time line so you can plan around this. Normally you should hear back within a few weeks.
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    (Original post by CJ)
    A question from me: Can you explain who hardship funds are for, how people can apply and the general criteria. Are these determined by the universities themselves?
    Hi, thanks for your question. Unlike Maintenance support, each uni will have its own criteria for funding. Often these funds are discretionary so may not be advertised on the website or at Open Days and can be to help with a sudden financial emergency (like having to travel home unexpectedly), and/or a delay in Maintenance funding. If you are unsure if they can help you, I would suggest that you speak to the finance support or welfare adviser at your institution if you think you would be eligible. Many unis and colleges will prioritise students who are parents or have a disability.
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    (Original post by CJ)
    Posted on behalf of Smurf121:

    Hello everyone,I considering applying for a student hardship fund. My father has passed away recently and I now have to rely on my mother for extra financial support. She isn't currently working. My only worry is that my university is looking for bank statements. I have placed a few bets to the value of 50 pounds over the past month and I am wondering will this effect the universities decision?
    Hi thanks for your e-mail. I would suggest that you arrange to meet with your finance support or welfare adviser and be honest and upfront about your circumstances. The uni will have possibly take this into account when making a decision but will appreciate your honesty. Often, hardship support comes in the form of payments in kind instead of cash; you could always ask if they have this facility. Good luck!
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    (Original post by CJ)
    Posted on behalf of TSRHally:

    I have received an unconditional offer from Brunel university and will probably need extra funding.
    My family earns under £25,000 pear year and i am eligible for maintenance grant and loan. after expenses i will just be able to survive with very little money because i will not take that much loan because i will have to pay it back.


    So i heard there is a "Hardship Fund" for under privileged people. I am from a poor area in England and me and my family hardly earn any money. Could i qualify for a hardship fund, if so how much would it be per year?
    Hi, thanks for your message. Maintenance grants were removed for new students starting in 2016/17, so I would say your first port of call is to check the Brunel website under financial support for details of the bursaries and scholarship support they offer for students who require extra funding. You can also contact them to ask for advice and I would encourage you to start making a budget; there are useful online tools such as the Brightside calculator which will help you. That way, you have a realistic view of what you can expect your expenditure to be, and what income you will need.
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    (Original post by CJ)
    Posted on behalf of nj1995:

    How long does it take to get a hardship fund approved, and then how long does it generally take to receive?
    Hi,
    There are also other factors to consider when estimating the time to approve and receive a hardship fund award. For example, when in the academic year you apply (in busy periods, like September or January assessments may take longer due to volume), how much you are applying for, and whether additional evidence is required to assess you. Contact your finance support or welfare adviser who may be able to give you a clear idea so you can better plan your funds. Ensure you have included all the evidence they have asked for as well : )
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    (Original post by Cloud_Panda)
    Hi guys! I just wanted to know if anyone knew of sources that provide financial aid for students doing Medicine as a second degree? A friend of mine has experienced a change of circumstance which means they are unable to pay the next installment of tuition fees. Any pointers will be much appreciated!
    Hi,
    Thanks for your message. The first step would be to speak directly to the uni to let them know that your friend will be unable to pay the next instalment. They may be able to arrange a payment plan if he/she engages now and lets them know. Also, can your friend see whether there is any other additional financial support the uni can offer to help? If not, there are some other possible sources of funding they could explore. Turn2us have a useful website that gives details of grants for those in hardship and although there is no guarantee they can help, its worth a try. In addition, Future Finance offer loans for educational purposes. Be aware that the interest and repayment rates are extremely high, so think carefully before choosing this option. He/she could also see whether a flexible work opportunity would be something they could explore to help cover costs.
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    (Original post by CJ)
    A question from me: Can you explain who hardship funds are for, how people can apply and the general criteria. Are these determined by the universities themselves?
    Although people switch terms, there is a difference between hardship funds and bursaries and scholarships. Check first with your uni what they offer regarding bursaries and scholarships and see whether you meet the criteria. Unis who charge £9000 offer some sort of help for students with lower income, so investigate if this means you.

    Hardship funds are usually discretionary and can help with sudden, unexpected financial crisis or if your main Maintenance funding is delayed. Speak to the finance support or welfare adviser to see whether your uni or college has this facility. Some hardship awards are made as payments in kind towards costs such as equipment, travel discounts and/or food vouchers.
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    (Original post by tom35)
    are hardship funds available for people from low income families? or is it just for those in severe financial difficulty?
    Hi,
    This is totally dependent on the uni. Make sure that you are in receipt of all funding available to you, including your Maintenance support, and any bursaries or scholarships you may be eligible for first. If when you plan your budget you have a large deficit between your income and expenditure, this can be an indication of financial difficulty because you will struggle to manage your finances if you have less money than you need to live on. Use online tools such as the student Brightside calculator to help you plan your budget to get a realistic idea of your circumstances.
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    (Original post by nelfran29)
    Hi, Could you kindly outline what NASMA is all about and if I would be eligible to apply for any hardship funds that are available. I am hoping to start university in Sept 2017 to study Adult Nursing, could I get help for myself as well as my child and studies?

    Thanks
    Hi,
    Thanks for your question. NASMA stands for the National Association of Student Money Advisers, and we are a membership organisation of money advisers who work in unis and colleges across the UK. We directly support the advisers who help you with your applications to funding, assessing support and liaising with Student Finance amongst other things.
    NASMA does not pay hardship funds, but we encourage you to speak to the college you intend to study at to see what support they offer specifically for your circumstances including any help with childcare costs. Make sure you speak to Student Finance as well to ensure you get all the Maintenance support you are entitled to.
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    (Original post by nelfran29)
    Hi, Could you kindly outline what NASMA is all about and if I would be eligible to apply for any hardship funds that are available. I am hoping to start university in Sept 2017 to study Adult Nursing, could I get help for myself as well as my child and studies?

    Thanks

    Most unis and colleges will prioritise hardship funding for students who have caring commitments, childcare and/or disabilities. Make sure you apply for all additional support you are entitled to first, such as bursaries and scholarships.
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    That's all for now. Thanks to everyone who got involved today and thanks to Abi for answering your questions.

    Check out our Student Money Week homepage - https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/con...oney-Week-2017 for information on the rest of this weeks events and discussions. Ray.
 
 
 
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Updated: February 8, 2017
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