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Higher Education Hardship Fund 2022-23

The Hardship Fund can offer support to UK Higher Education students studying on eligible courses who are experiencing financial difficulties. It is an additional source of financial support for any student who has taken out a student loan (if eligible) and is suffering financial hardship. An applicant also has to prove that she/he has exhausted all other funding sources, including their overdraft provision, before an application can be considered. 

Students considering applying should recognise that it is intended to support students who have found themselves in unavoidable financial difficulties and is a safety net. It is not a guaranteed income or entitlement. If you have expensive but non-essential outgoings such as Sky TV, high mobile charges, holidays or membership, you will be expected to pay for them yourself. The fund cannot be used to cover any part of tuition fees.   An award from the Fund will be considered by a panel and is not an automatic entitlement.


  • You must be a home (UK) student
  • You must be studying on a Higher education programme that is eligible for student loans support, eligible courses are:
    • Foundation Degrees
    • Higher National Diplomas (HNDs)
    • Higher National Certificates
    • Certificates of Higher Education
    • Initial Teacher Training (PCET)
  • You must be in receipt of the full student loan to which you are entitled and/or any other funding available to you
  • You must have utilised any overdraft facilities available to you from your bank or building society
  • If you are a part time student you must be studying at least 50% course intensity (60 credits per year)
  • Students who have their fees paid by employers, either as part of a scheme (e.g. Higher Apprenticeship or SFI) or directly, are not eligible
  • Students not in receipt of statutory support must usually have provision in place for living costs and fees prior to the course commencing. Your application may be rejected if you have not made adequate provision.

To apply for the Hardship fund you must be referred to the Student Support Officer for your area (this can be self- referral). This is so you can get support and have help completing the application form. You can apply for funding at any time during the course and can re-apply if in financial difficulties.

Hardship fund committee
Funds are administered by the Gower College Swansea Hardship Fund committee representing the Finance Department, Student Services and Higher Education Management. Representatives of this Committee will meet as a panel when required. This will normally be within two weeks of applications being received during term-time. These times may be extended due to specific circumstances (e.g. holiday periods).  A student can normally expect a decision within two working days of the panel meeting.

Evidence required

  • Completed hardship form 
  • All bank accounts held by you, including current balance of account and agreed overdraft limit  (if you have been refused an overdraft you will be required to submit evidence of this)
  • Details of joint / partner bank accounts
  • Savings
  • Credit card debts
  • Other credit debts (e.g. PayDay Loans)

You must provide recent statements for each account.

Assessment of the Decision
Your individual circumstances are considered and looked at by a Committee. Student couples will be treated as a joint application, so we recommend you make an appointment with a member of the HE team together to complete one application. We will assess applications by looking at the difference between students accepted reasonable expenditure and expected income and identify if there is an additional need.

Confirmation of the Decision
You will be informed by email of the Hardship Committee's decision. Please ensure that the completed application form includes your correct email address.

Reviewing a Hardship Fund application
You can request a review if the information given on the original application was incomplete or if your circumstances have changed.

Appealing against a decision made by the Hardship Fund Committee
You may appeal against a decision using the Gower College Swansea Complaints Policy