We're help to support you with your money. We understand that whilst in Higher Education, you might suffer from anxiety about your finances, and need some support through our Hardship Fund.
Check out the information down below.
ARC Directory to all useful student funding links and resources. Links to information for undergraduate, postgraduate, student parents, students with disabilities, repeating, suspending, EU, NHS and Social Work students.
Fill out our inquiry form to find out if you're eligible for the Union's Financial Hardship Fund.
The University Hardship Fund administers a non-repayable discretionary fund which gives students facing acute and unexpected financial hardship extra support to access and remain in higher education. More specifically the fund can be used to:
A full guide to UHF can be found here
Save the Student have just updated their table of the best student bank accounts for 2020, which uniquely factors in student satisfaction scores based on their own survey.
MIND has produced a fantastic online resource. They say: "Personal finances and mental health often have a strong impact on each other. If you are struggling to keep control of your money, you may find that your mental health is affected. Likewise, if you find that you cannot cope with your feelings or behaviour, you may find that you get into financial difficulties."
Download our Guide to Credit Unions and find out more about Hillingdon Credit Union
Download our Guide to Compelling Personal Reasons . This document summarises what you will need to do to submit a request to Student Finance England to have your previous study disregarded on the grounds of compelling personal reasons, OR to keep receiving funding whilst you are not in attendance.
Thinking about taking a break from your studies or repeating a year and worried about the impact on your student funding? Please read our Change of Plan Guide
BrightsideUNIAID Trust have launched a new website to help students with children prepare for university life. This project has developed as a result of the research into the experiences of student parents 'Meet the Parents' - the first UK-wide research into the experience of this student group. The studentparents.org website is a practical response to this, developed by a consortium of organisations, led by education charity BrightsideUNIAID and funded by the Nuffield Foundation.
Studentparents.org provides a range of online information and tools including; a jargon buster to provide clear information about student support, a budget calculator with information about financial support and tools, tips on preparing for higher education, including time management, childcare options and study skills, and case studies from students already balancing higher education with parenthood.
Please visit the University's Directory of Childcare Information for information on local childcare nurseries offering discounted rates to Brunel Staff and Students.
Childcare Grant - The Student Room
Childcare Grant- full guide
If you have a disability, ongoing health condition, mental health condition or learning difficulty, you may be entitled to receive DSA.
Visit Your DSA for more information
Postgraduate Loans - the government provides a loan for postgraduate Master's study. You can find more information here.
SLC has created two films to explain the Postgraduate Master’s Loan and the new Postgraduate Doctoral Loan to students thinking about starting either of these course types.
Both films explain what’s available and how it’s repaid.
Postgraduate Doctoral – https://youtu.be/n9mO-RpLNTE
Postgraduate Master’s film – https://youtu.be/bJr1SjwKneI
PostgraduateFunding.com is a comprehensive database of grants available to postgraduate students from all over the world.
Find A Masters website provides a set of excellent guides to Masters and PhD funding in UK and abroad. You can also apply for a Scholarship worth £5,000
Future Finance - private loan provider for undergraduate and postgraduate students in UK.
Career Development Loans - commercial bank loans for educations, with lower interest rates than a standard loan.
Funding for Teaching - information on funding and bursaries directly from the Department for Education.
Money-Saving Experts' new guide analyses Student Loans. Here's Martin Lewis's must-read guide to student loans
Student Finance England (SFE) refers to the term Compelling Personal Reasons (CPR) as a type of extenuating circumstance which would explain why you would have changed your course, need to repeat a previous year or have not managed to complete the academic year, requiring a student to go on abeyance.
This would include severe illness or disability, caring for a close relative, relationship breakdown, and severe financial difficulties.
It is important to show that without these challenges, you would have been fine and able to cope.
This guide summarises what you will need to do to submit a request to Student Finance England (SFE):
Student Funding Package
Student is given funding for: duration of course (usually 3 years) + additional gift year (safety net year) = 4 years of funding
How to Submit a “Compelling Personal Reasons” Request
Student Finance England
PO Box 210
For more in-depth information please see below
About This Guide
If your studies have been interrupted by compelling personal reasons and you require further funding in order for you to complete your studies (extra year of funding/ during your abeyance), Student Finance England (SFE) can choose to discretionally award you this were otherwise ineligible.
Student funding package works in the following way:
What Shall I Do if I Studied Previously and Now I Can’t Be Funded for My New Course?
If due to your previous studies, SFE decided that you are not entitled to further full funding, there are a few options:
If SFE accepts the CPR, one year would be removed from your previous study and added to your current study funding package.
Going back to the above example; this would mean that this student now would have enough in the funding package to cover their new 3-year course.
To reiterate 4 years (new course) - 2 years (old course) = 2 years remaining in the funding package. Now with accepted CPR year, the student has 3 years of funding remaining which can go towards paying for their 1st year of study which wasn’t previously covered before student applied for CPR. As previously, there were 2 years remaining in the package and the new course is 3 years long, only years 2 and 3 would have been funded.
What Should I Do if I Need to Take a Break From My Course but I Will Not Cope Without My Student Loan??
If you have to interrupt your studies and are going into abeyance, your funding will stop.
Students who need to take a break from their studies, but who want to return (e.g. 'intercalate' or suspend their studies) often fall through the net of both the student support and benefits systems and may find it difficult to get financial support. It is important therefore to seek proper advice from your department and the Advice Service before making a decision.
If it has been agreed by the University that you can suspend temporarily, SFE will normally suspend your financial support for up to one year and reinstate it when you return.
The University has a duty to inform SFE about your suspension. SFE may request that you repay any parts of the loan you have received for periods when you were not actually in attendance at university.
These rules are complex and students who suspend due to medical reasons are treated differently.
Those students who suspend on non-medical grounds are not entitled to any further funding from the day of their suspension.
However, SFE may agree to pay loan instalments on a discretionary basis (e.g. they don’t have to pay you but they may, depending on your reasons for the suspension).
Discretionary extension of student funding (e.g. for more than 60 days for ill students and throughout the abeyance for non-ill students) can be requested via the CPR letter.
PLEASE NOTE: discretionary support is not available to ‘external students’ who are not in attendance (i.e. attend only for resits or at the end of their course), as opposed to students who are ‘suspending study’ (or intercalating) with the agreement of their institution. The latter category can be considered for discretionary support.
How to Submit a “Compelling Personal Reasons” Request
Compose a Letter:
If Asking for Funding During Abeyance
Find evidence which supports statements which you make in your CPR letter.
Types of evidence can include:
Please note this list is not exhaustive.
Send draft letter with evidence to the Advice Service to be reviewed before sending off
Once agreed on the final version with your Advice Service Adviser, the Adviser can send the letter to SFE on your behalf. The Adviser may also attach their own letter of support if this is what they have agreed with you.
What Happens Next?
It usually takes between four and six weeks for Student Finance England to consider the CPR request. You should keep checking your emails and ask SFE for updates if it exceeds this time.
Student Finance England don’t always write to you to say that your request has been considered and to let you know the outcome. Sometimes they just send you a Student Finance Breakdown like you would get if you’d applied for statutory support according to the usual process. If the request has been unsuccessful the Student Finance Breakdown will say £0.00 against Maintenance Loan/ Grant.
If You Are Experiencing Financial Hardship Now
If you are experiencing financial hardship now, or expect to experience it while waiting for Student Finance England to consider your request, you should contact the Advice Service.
The Advice Service can advise you on applications to Student's Union hardship fund and take you through the process of applying to the University’s own hardship fund. You can find more information about hardship funding here
You can also use the following resource – Blackbullion – to assist you with money management: https://intra.brunel.ac.uk/s/moneyandbudgeting/blackbullion
What Advice and Help Can I Expect to Receive From the Advice & Representation Centre?
We are able to assist with the following:
The Union of Brunel Students, Hamilton Centre, Brunel University, Kingston Lane, Uxbridge, Middlesex. UB8 3PH.
Tel: 01895 269 269 Charity Number: 1173492
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