UCL provides almost £1 million in Financial Assistance to students in 2022-23
5 September 2023
Fund expanded last year to support difficulties caused by the Cost of Living, providing nearly £1 million to students in unexpected financial need.
The UCL Financial Assistance Fund (FAF) supports students who have encountered unexpected circumstances that put them into financial difficulty. This can include an inability to meet essential costs such as rent, food and utility bills, along with unexpected one-off events.
Feedback from students in receipt of the UCL Financial Assistance Fund (FAF), was that they consistently felt that it helped improve their mental health by alleviating financial stress and enabling them to focus on their studies.
One student said, “it provided me much-needed financial help during a challenging time, reducing my stress and allowing me to focus on my studies without compromising my wellbeing,” whilst another student highlighted how it had “lessened the anxieties from financial burden and massively improved [their] mental health.”
Increase in applications for 2022-23
In the most recent academic year 2022-23, the Student Funding team saw an increase of 79% in FAF applications compared to 2021-22, highlighting the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on students. There was also a huge rise in applications from UK undergraduates; an increase of 128%, more than double compared to the previous year.
About the Financial Assistance Fund
The fund is open to all students that are enrolled on a UCL programme. Applications are particularly encouraged from students who have caring responsibilities, are estranged from their families, are care-experienced students or those who are experiencing hardship due to the cost-of-living crisis. The award of the fund will vary depending on individual circumstances and is means-tested. The fund is not available for tuition fees.
The Student Funding team received a large volume of incomplete applications, and they hope that a new online form will make it easier for students to apply. The Students' Union can help students fill the form out and there are alternative options for completing the form offline too.
UCL’s overall spend on the fund increased by 98% in 22-23 to a total of £955,655.00, a significant rise in comparison to the previous year. The average award value also increased by 23% to £2,037.64 compared to last year, showing UCL’s commitment to supporting students in unexpected financial difficulty due to the cost-of-living crisis.
Students' reasons for applying for the fund varied, with the top reasons being the result of a general shortfall followed by an unforeseen event leading to additional costs. Students also cited essential living costs such as rent, and utilities as the main costs that the award contributed towards. Bespoke financial support was also provided to students impacted by the war in Ukraine via funding UCL received from the Office for Students.
Shanaz Begum, Student Funding Manager, said:
Though the increase in the number of applications means more students are being affected by the cost-of-living crisis, it is encouraging to see that students are turning to the support available at UCL in times of difficulty, and this could also indicate a raised awareness amongst students of the financial support at UCL. We would like to encourage colleagues to continue to signpost students to the Student Funding team via the website to ensure we can provide them with timely support.”
Sign-posting further support to students
If students are ineligible for this fund, they can be signposted to other forms of support and the Students’ Union can also provide further support.
- The Students’ Union is available to provide further financial support and guidance for the cost of living.
- UCL Student Funding Advisors can help with money management and funding questions
- The Student Support and Wellbeing team are on hand to assist students affected by financial, or other, pressures
- Students can contact Student Advisers for support with study matters, mental health, and wellbeing
- Students also have access to the UCL 24/7 Student Support Line (no longer Care First) for free, confidential wellbeing support, available for students in the UK, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.