Learn about our Hardship Fund for students who are struggling financially.

About the Hardship Fund

We have a fund for students who have financial issues so they can concentrate on their studies rather than worrying about money.

The Hardship Fund is different from our Welfare Loan because it is a grant that you do not need to repay.

To qualify for an award, we assess your circumstances based on your financial needs.

We do this because we only have a limited amount of money and demand is high. So we have to make sure we give grants to students who really need them.

We make all awards from the Hardship Fund according to our:

Important: We give Hardship awards for your living costs – not your tuition fees. See our scholarships and bursaries to understand funding options for your course.

Your income

To be considered for Hardship funding, you must have already maximised your income – for instance, taking out a loan if you can and getting part-time work if you’re able to.


You can apply for the Hardship Fund if you are a:

  • full-time undergraduate student
  • full- or part-time Masters or PhD student.

You must be a fully-registered Sussex student to get support.

You may also be eligible if you are:

  • on a study abroad or placement year
  • resitting an assessment
  • paying continuation fees – for example, because you’re handing in your dissertation late.

Students who are not eligible

You’re not eligible for hardship funding if you are:

Important: There is no guarantee you will qualify for hardship support. You may instead be referred to specialist services or coaching and advice sessions to help you minimise costs, maximise your income and manage your budget. Find out about getting money skills for life.

How to apply for Hardship funding

Applications to the Hardship Fund are open throughout the year, including the summer. 

There are two steps in applying to the Hardship Fund:

  • filling in an initial form
  • supplying supporting documents.

Initial form

To apply to the Hardship Fund, you need to fill in a form, giving details of why you need help.

This takes about 20 minutes.

We will ask for

  • your general contact details
  • whether you’re in a priority group – view our assessment process [PDF 91KB]
  • accommodation arrangements
  • your day-to-day expenses
  • a supporting statement and a donor statement.

You may wish to include the following information in your statements:

  • why you are experiencing financial difficulties
  • what you have done to address your money issues
  • if your living costs are affected by a disability or health condition.

Apply to Hardship Fund

Supporting documents

After you have made your initial application for Hardship funding, you will receive an automatic reply.

Important: If you are a student from a country currently experiencing conflict, and you cannot provide three months of bank statements, provide what evidence you can and explain your situation in the supporting statement section.

Otherwise, we will ask you for:

  • annotated bank statements for all your accounts over the past three months
  • additional medical costs
  • any one-off expenditures you would like us to consider – such as replacing your boiler
  • child care costs, if relevant
  • the circumstances of a partner, if you live with them.

You’ll get more details in the auto-reply email you receive.

You’ll provide all documents using Egress Switch – our secure email encryption service – and protect your files with a password.

Tip: You should provide this information within 30 days of getting your initial auto-reply email. To speed up your application, try to get all the documents you need ready before you fill out the initial form.

Receiving the Hardship Fund payment

Once we have received your application and all the supporting documentation, we will aim to process your application within 20 working days.

If your application is approved the award will be paid through the Sussex Aspire Engagement Portal. This portal has been specifically designed to support you in accessing the funds you may be eligible to receive.

You will receive an email from Sussex Aspire with your login details to access the Engagement Portal. You will be able to withdraw your funds when you log in. Once withdrawn funds are usually paid instantly, but can take up to 2 hours.

If you have any questions or need support in withdrawing your funds, email student.info@sussex-aspire.co.uk. For any other queries, email the Sussex Student Funding Team at studentfunding@sussex.ac.uk.

Hardship funding principles and procedures

We make all awards from the Hardship Fund according to our:

If you’re still not satisfied, you should follow the University’s official complaints procedure.

Our funding work is overseen by the Office for Students.

See more from Financial support