The Student Support Fund (SSF) Bursary aims to help UK undergraduates who commenced their course in the 2020/21 academic year or later who may require financial assistance in a range of circumstances, ranging from a shortfall in their finances to help meeting additional exceptional costs.
A non-repayable bursary of between £50 and £750 is available. Depending on the level of demand, the award amount may be capped below the maximum level in order to ensure sufficient funding is available to students in need of assistance throughout the academic year.
Who is eligible to apply?
All first degree undergraduates ordinarily resident in the UK (usually students with Home fee status) who commenced their course in the 2020/21 academic year or later, are currently enrolled, and have a household income of less than £62,286 (as determined by their Student Funding agency) are eligible to apply for the bursary.
Applications will also be accepted from those who do not meet the income eligibility threshold, where justification of exceptional personal circumstances can be provided.
What should applicants be aware of before submitting an application?
Before applying, students will be expected to have accessed all the government funding they are entitled to receive before they can be eligible for a Student Support Fund Bursary.
If there has been a recent change in family financial circumstances then students should seek to receive a current year income assessment from their Student Finance agency in the first instance, as this may enable them to receive additional government maintenance funding. To undergo a current year income assessment, a student’s household income in the 2021/22 tax year will need to be at least 15% lower than in the 2019/20 tax year which was used for their initial assessment (or 5% lower for students from Northern Ireland).
Crankstart scholars will need to demonstrate additional costs that cannot be met by their existing funding package, as their Crankstart Bursary in conjunction with government funding exceeds the average 9 month living costs figure that is published by the University.
What costs can the Student Support Fund Bursary help with?
Students can apply for support from the fund for assistance with meeting a range of costs. This may include, but is not limited to, assistance where:
- Additional costs are involved with travelling home to support family members where students have caring responsibilities. (Those students already in receipt of an Oxford Travel Supplement will be required to demonstrate costs in excess of this funding.)
- Students face increased expenditure on study-related costs that cannot be met through existing funding provision.
- Additional vacation rent costs are incurred if students are required to stay in Oxford during the Christmas or Easter vacations, where these costs may not already be met through college support.
- Parental contributions are not at the level anticipated by the relevant Student Finance agency when calculating maintenance funding entitlement in line with household income. This could be due to parents supporting multiple children in higher education, or where other financial commitments exist.
Please note that the Student Support Fund bursary is not intended to cover any costs related to COVID-19. Students experiencing financial difficulty related to COVID-19 should visit the COVID-19 Assistance Fund page and discuss with their college hardship officer.
What is the application procedure and deadlines?
Applications for 2021/22 will open during Michaelmas Term (date to be confirmed).
Once applications are open, students will be able to obtain a Student Support Fund bursary application form through their College Hardship Officer. The hardship officer varies across colleges but could be the Senior Tutor, Bursar or Academic Administrator.
Complete applications should be submitted by the college to Student Fees and Funding. The form includes sections for the student and college officer to complete, and applications will only be considered when both sections have been received.
Student Fees and Funding may ask for clarification relating to your application or for further information. If this is the case you will receive an email from Student Fees and Funding. If no response is received within 21 days we will consider the application withdrawn.
Once Student Fees and Funding receive a complete application, we aim to process the application and communicate the outcome within four weeks. Please note it may take longer outside of term time.
How are applications assessed?
Applications are reviewed by Student Fees and Funding who will take into account a student’s current situation, the University’s published lower range of living costs, the amount requested, and why additional funding is required. The college statement will also be taken into consideration when assessing eligibility and the bursary amount requested.
Can students make repeat applications?
It is possible to apply for support in a subsequent year of study provided students meet the eligibility criteria. It is possible to reapply within the same academic year if a student’s financial circumstances have changed, provided an award of £750 has not already been received. Any subsequent application and request for funding will be reviewed based on current circumstances and using the latest available information.
How are students and colleges notified of the outcome?
The outcome of an application will be sent via email to the student, with their college copied in.
Payment of any bursary will be made directly to the student, usually in one instalment.
If a student is not satisfied with the outcome of their application they may appeal in writing to Student Fees and Funding within four weeks of the date of the outcome notification from Student Fees and Funding. Decisions made regarding appeals are final.
An appeal must either:
(i) Contain new or more detailed information relating to your situation which was not available to you at the time of your original application; or
(ii) Dispute the application decision by demonstrating that the decision was not conducted in accordance with the stated procedure.