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    If you’re wondering about what help you could get if you find yourself in hardship at uni, our experts are here to help.

    Phil is Head of Student Support at Bishop Grosseteste University. He has worked in higher education student services for 20 years and is a former Chairperson of the National Association of Student Money Advisers (NASMA).

    He has a background in money advice and has experience of managing discretionary hardship funds at the University.

    Please be aware all answers will be posted on Thursday 15 February.
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    My parents were made redundant last year (with only statutory pay) and are finding it hard to get new jobs. I know course and tutor fees are covered by the student finance loan but i am unsure about other costs E.G Rent, food, extra curriculum. Are there any grants that I can apply for?
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    Hey everyone, I've read a mixture of answers regarding this so just want to see if anyone knows. When you get student loans such as maintenance loans etc, does your universal credit deduct the payments they pay you? Because if so, I wouldn't say it's entirely fair seeing as you have to pay these loans back. I am just wondering if anyone knows
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    (Original post by squad101)
    My parents were made redundant last year (with only statutory pay) and are finding it hard to get new jobs. I know course and tutor fees are covered by the student finance loan but i am unsure about other costs E.G Rent, food, extra curriculum. Are there any grants that I can apply for?
    Hi Squad101

    Priority living costs like rent and food, as well as additional course-related costs are often the kind of expenditure that hardship funds can assist with. You will need to be a registered student to apply, and you may also be required to have applied for the maximum student finance available to you in order to apply to the hardship funds.

    With regards to your parent's circumstances - there's a chance you may be able to get a reassessment carried out on your student finance because of the recent change. This year's student finance is worked out on information relating to the 15/16 tax year, and next year's finance will use the 16/17 tax year. if your parents' redundancy has happened since the end of the tax years in question, you can request a "current year income assessment" from student finance (there's a form for this which you can download from gov.uk/student finance, or ask the advice service at your place of study.
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    (Original post by VickyD1)
    Hey everyone, I've read a mixture of answers regarding this so just want to see if anyone knows. When you get student loans such as maintenance loans etc, does your universal credit deduct the payments they pay you? Because if so, I wouldn't say it's entirely fair seeing as you have to pay these loans back. I am just wondering if anyone knows
    Hi VickyD1

    It's unusual to see tax directs directly affected by student finance. There's only one 'item' of student finance that is taken into account for tax credit purposes - the "Adult Dependant's Grant", but even that on its own is not enough to adversely affect a tax credits claim - but could be taken into account alongside e.g. income from employment.

    The rest of the student finance system is disregarded for tax credit purposes. However, if you are applying for help with childcare costs, you should note that the Childcare Grant is mutually exclusive with the childcare element of Working Tax Credit - you can get either of those sources of assistance, not both.

    When it comes to welfare benefits, the majority of full-time students are ruled out of eligibility, but for those groups who can claim during study (e.g. lone parents, students eligible for the disability premium) their maintenance loan will count in full even if they have not applied for it.
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    Higher education institutions will typically offer hardship funds to assist students with additional financial expenditure arising from unforeseen events (e.g. theft, fire) or due to circumstances over and above the usual costs facing an individual student. So, if you have further to travel, childcare responsibilities or higher than average course costs, you might be able to get some additional financial support from a hardship fund.

    If you make a successful application, you might find that it is a contribution to your situation, rather than all the money you require, but the Fund will usually try to make a meaningful contribution - and the money does not usually need to be paid back.
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    If you are a full-time undergraduate, the national guidance for HE hardship funds gives priority to you if you are in the following groups:

    • Students with children (especially lone parents)
    • Other mature students, especially those with existing financial commitments, including priority debts
    • Students from low income families
    • Disabled students (especially where the DSA is unable to meet particular costs and the institution has no legal responsibility to do so)
    • Care leavers
    • Carers (especially Young Carers)
    • Students from Foyers or who are homeless
    • Students receiving the final year loan rate, who are in financial difficulty (including those unable to work because of academic pressure)
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    If you are a full-time postgraduate, the national guidance for HE hardship funds gives priority to you if you are in the following groups:

    • Students who are self-funding

    • Care leavers

    • Carers

    • Students with children

    • Disabled students (especially where the DSA is unable to meet particular costs and the institution has no legal responsibility to do so)

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    If you are a part-time student, the national guidance for HE hardship funds gives priority to you if you are in the following groups:

    • Students with children

    • Carers

    • Students who are disabled, including disabled students studying between 25% and 49% full-time equivalent (FTE), who are ineligible for Disabled Students Allowances (DSAs)

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    If your student finance is late coming through, or has been disrupted, ask your place of study about financial help. Hardship funds could be available to help you through a short-term period - if you have not yet had any student finance, any further support may be in the form of a short-term loan.

    A short-term loan will not usually have interest attached to it, and it is repayable once your student finance is paid to you. Once you have your student finance, you may be able to apply to the hardship fund for financial assistance that does not need to be paid back.
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    If you have to take time out from your course and you are unable to access any financial support and your student finance has been stopped, ask about the hardship funds - you may be able to get a contribution towards essential costs like rent, utilities and food.
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    Hardship funds are usually calculated on YOUR (and your partner's) circumstances, rather than using an assessment of parental income. So, even if you aren't getting the highest rate of loan, you could still get assistance from the hardship fund...
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    Always remember to check out the availability of hardship funds if you find yourself short of money. They don't need to be paid back - it's better to apply for them than to use forms of credit like credit cards, store cards or high street loans.
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    That's the end of the webchat. Thanks to Phil.
 
 
 
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