2020 applicants

Hardship Fund

The aim of the Hardship Fund is to assist students from low-income households who are experiencing unexpected or unforeseen financial difficulty. Awards take the form of a non-repayable grant awarded to successful applicants who require financial support to enable them continue their studies at the University of Essex.

The Hardship Fund will close in the summer 2021, however the University reserves the right to close this fund early as awards are subject to the availability of funds. There is no guarantee that an award will be offered when applying for the Hardship Fund.

The Hardship Fund assists students from low-income households by helping to remove unexpected, short-term financial barriers when studying at Essex. University costs that the fund can be used to support include:

  1. Living costs - to assist with core living costs such as utility bills, food and travel
  2. Residential costs - to assist with the cost of rent
  3. Equipment/digital costs - to assist with the cost of digital, IT equipment or to secure access to internet
  4. Childcare costs - the Childcare Fund provides additional financial support towards childcare costs

What is unexpected or unforeseen financial difficulty?

Unexpected or unforeseen financial difficulty includes situations that are:

  • Not anticipated or predicted and therefore unplanned for;
  • Sudden and short term;
  • Situations, which meet all of the above and where you are unable to access any further financial support from any other sources.


To be eligible for the Hardship Fund, you must meet the following criteria:

  • you are a registered UK, EU or international undergraduate or postgraduate student studying at the University of Essex for academic year 2020-21
  • you have a household income of £35,000 or less
  • you are studying a full-time course or substantial part time course (at least 50% of full-time equivalent)
  • you had previously made adequate provision to cover all of your fees and living costs, but are now in demonstrable need or financial support as a result of unexpected exceptional changes in financial circumstances
  • you have accessed all other financial support available to you before applying for the Hardship Fund, including:
    • Personal savings
    • Support from family members
    • Part-time employment salary
    • Statutory funding, including government funding (e.g. Student Finance England)
    • Welfare benefits and other sources of similar funding you may be entitled to
    • University or external funding, including scholarships, bursaries or discounts
  • If you are requesting support for childcare, your child/children must be aged 11 years or younger and you may apply for a maximum of up to three children

Full details

Please read the full terms and conditions for your entry year before applying for a university fund. These terms contain important information about eligibility, evidence required and how to apply.

2020-21 entry

How to apply

All funding applications from 2020-21 must be submitted via Blackbullion, please see instructions below:

  1. Create an account with Blackbullion using your Essex email account or login if you already have an account. (Note: Make sure you select the ‘University student’ option, rather than ‘applicant’ when you register)
  2. Click the ‘Funds’ tab and select ‘UoE Hardship Fund 2020-21’ button
  3. Read the guidance and follow the instructions to complete the online application form and submit all the required evidence as outlined on the guidance document
  4. Submit your application and evidence

Note: your application will not be assessed if you do not meet the criteria. It will only be assessed when we receive a full and complete application form, including all evidence necessary to complete an assessment.

If you have any technical problems registering your account with Blackbullion, please get in touch with them at support@blackbullion.com. If you have any questions regarding the Hardship Fund, please get in touch with the Student Information Team.

Other Support

The University and other external organisations offer financial support to get you through your studies, check out other ways of funding your University for current students at the links below:

UoE offers a range of additional welfare support and guidance.