Skip to main content

Hardship funds

Ofs hardship (paused)

COVID-19 has had an adverse impact on many of our students' finances. The government, via the Office for Students (OfS), has recognised this and in response has provided additional funding to Birkbeck to support students who have been impacted by COVID-19. 

The OfS Hardship Fund can award eligible students a financial relief package ranging between £500 and £2000, based on course intensity, but cannot be used towards fees.

Due to OfS restrictions, applications to the OfS Hardship Fund will close on 24 March 2021, or sooner if the funds are exhausted. Our standard internal financial support packages will remain open as usual.

Applications paused

We regret to inform you that we are pausing applications to the OfS Hardship Fund, as we have exhausted the funds that have been allocated to us by the Office for Students. No new applications will be considered for the time being, but if the fund reopens, notification of this will be posted on your My Birkbeck profile.

Birkbeck continues to offers our core financial support schemes, such as BNBA and the below Birkbeck Hardship Fund. Please read the information on the relevant webpages very carefully, as the eligibility criteria and assessment differs to that of the OfS Hardship Fund.

Birkbeck hardship fund

Birkbeck will continue to operate our traditional Hardship Fund, however students must be found ineligible for the OfS Hardship Fund above first. If you are awarded the OfS Hardship Fund, you cannot be considered for the Birkbeck Hardship Fund.

If you are a current student and you have experienced an unforeseen change of circumstance in your personal situation while studying, such as redundancy, illness or domestic problems, the Birkbeck Hardship Fund may be able to help you.

Awards are up to £2000 and cannot be used towards tuition fee costs. Your fees should be up to date for an award to be made. The fund will remain open until 28 May 2021, or until funds are exhausted.

To apply for a Birkbeck Hardship Fund Award, you must meet the following criteria:

  • be currently enrolled on a minimum of 30 credits, or fully enrolled on a research programme at Birkbeck
  • be up to date with fee payments and not a debtor to the College
  • be currently experiencing financial hardship and usually have a household income of less than £25,000
  • be currently residing in the UK
  • have made realistic provision to cover tuition fees, course and living costs prior to the start of the 2020/21 academic year (e.g. a work contract which covers the duration of the academic year)
  • have experienced an unforeseen change in circumstance after the start of the 2020/21 academic year, such as redundancy, illness or domestic problems which has affected the provision you made, or due to which you have incurred unexpected costs
  • have applied for any government support available to you, such as student loans or benefits.
Evidence required can be extensive, as this fund is assessed on a case by case basis. Please contact the Student Advice Service and explain how you meet all above seven criteria.
If you are deemed eligible, you will be sent an application form.

Other hardship funding

ISH Mary Trevelyan Hardship Fund: As Birkbeck holds membership with International Student House (ISH), our students are eligible to use ISH events and services, including their hardship fund.

Alternative postgraduate funding sources

  • You can find additional funding opportunities in the publications listed below. Copies may be available in your local library or at the nearby British Library (though you may be required to register to gain access):
    • Educational Grants Directory (published by the Directory of Social Change)
    • The Grants Register (published by Macmillan Reference Limited)
    • Charities Digest (published by Waterlow Information Services)
    • The Directory of Grant Making Trusts (Charities Aid Foundation)
  • You may also find funding via the following websites:
  • Birkbeck also subscribes to the Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding. Though its primary focus is to help prospective and current postgraduate students access voluntary sector support towards their studies, it can also be a potential source of grants and funding for those in hardship (though please be aware that eligibility and definitions of what constitutes ‘hardship’ can vary between individual charities). Students who are on campus can log in automatically without a password. If you do not have a registered Birkbeck email address, or are a prospective student, to receive a unique PIN that will give you access to all the resources.