Following the outbreak of coronavirus, we rightly focused our fundraising efforts on emergency support through our Hardship Fund – and thanks to our community of donors we have raised more than £315,000 since April 2020. 

These funds have helped to ensure that we could provide vital financial assistance to students when they have needed it most.  And in the past year, whilst covid-19 related hardship has decreased, we’ve still seen a huge demand for financial support. 

Most recently, when war broke out in Ukraine, we once again called on our alumni community to support the Hardship Fund, knowing that many of our Ukrainian and Russian students were placed in difficult circumstances, both personally and financially. 


How has the Hardship Fund helped?

In the 2021-2022 academic year:

  • We awarded 437 hardship grants to Essex students
  • Our average time to process applications was just 5 days and 14 hours – doing everything we can to ease the stress financial burdens can put on students
  • In total, we’ve awarded more than £357,000 – contributions come from both the Hardship Fund appeal and internal funding

We’ll continue to fundraise for the Hardship Fund, because we know there will always be students who find themselves in immediate financial need, through no fault of their own. We couldn’t do what we do without the support of our alumni community, and we are so grateful. Thank you.

Donate to the Hardship Fund. If you’re a student, find out more about how to apply to the Hardship Fund

How the Hardship Fund supports students

Rising energy costs

“I'm living in student accommodation over the summer and our energy supplier messed up and gave my entire house a large lump sum of money to pay.

“The Hardship Fund payment will help me pay off some of the debts I made trying to pay off the bills, as well as anything remaining - helping me sustain myself through the first half of summer such as paying for medication.”

Student wishes to remain anonymous

Economic turmoil

I applied for the hardship funding because my country, Sri Lanka, is facing its worst economic crisis. The value of the rupee has depreciated drastically, there is little to no access to food and fuel. Transferring money from one country to another has become a serious issue. I applied in order to relieve my parents from the significant stress they are facing, trying to figure out how to send money through for accommodation or food.

“It will mainly go towards my living and accommodation costs. This gives my parents more time to figure out our finances and reduces the stress of how I will be able to manage here in the UK without having relatives send money through for basic necessities. I’m very grateful this opportunity is available.”

Student wishes to remain anonymous 

Loss of part-time job

"I lost my part-time job which was my only source of income for food utilities and accommodation fees. Being a Masters international student from a third-world country, it was difficult for me to manage to live in the UK being self-funded.

“It will now help me to survive here for the next few months to pay my accommodation bills. I am currently doing my dissertation and this fund will really help me to concentrate on my studies without the need to worry about having a roof on my head.”

Antony James, MSc Artificial Intelligence