Bursaries and other funding options

If you're experiencing financial difficulties there are a variety of bursaries and funds available to you, either directly through the University of Plymouth or partner organisations. For information about bursaries and funds available at our partner organisations, please contact the college directly.

You'll find information on this page about:

  • the Financial Support Fund 2018/19
  • EU Hardship Fund 2018/19
  • the What Just Happened Fund
  • the Office for Fair Access (OFFA) access agreements
  • the Helena Kennedy Foundation
  • The Mayflower Award
  • Young Adult Carers Award.


Eligible students can only receive one bursary in any given academic year; should you qualify for two or more, you will only be entitled to receive whichever has the highest value. This may mean an adjustment is needed to payment amounts during the year, but you will be advised if this is the case.

Please note: if you are re-assessed at any point during the year, either by Student Finance or by the University and you are deemed to no longer meet the criteria for the bursary that you have been receiving, no further payments can be made.

For full terms and conditions please email the Student Funding Unit at studentfunding@plymouth.ac.uk stating which award you are enquiring about.

Financial Support Fund

Are you a home student in significant hardship, either because of extra costs you have to meet or due to an overall shortfall of income? 

You may be able to receive help from this fund. This fund provides discretionary financial assistance to help you access and remain in Higher Education, particularly if you need financial help to meet extra costs that cannot be met from other sources of support. 

The fund can help to alleviate unexpected financial hardship. We particularly encourage students who may be considering leaving Higher Education because of financial problems to apply. 

Opening period for 2018–2019: 1 October 2018 – 31 May 2019 (Final year students must submit their application and all supporting evidence by 10 May 2019). 

Please note, you must be registered on your course and you must be in receipt of statutory funding before you can make your application. 

Our Financial Support Fund guidance notes contain more information on conditions and criteria and answers to your FAQs. Download the Financial Support Fund form.

Need more advice? Visit our support and advice pages.

EU students Hardship Fund 2018–19

This fund provides discretionary financial assistance to help you access and remain in Higher Education, particularly if you need financial help to meet extra costs that cannot be met from other sources of support. The fund can help to alleviate unexpected financial hardship. However, if you are an EU student you need to have income that covers your living and housing costs in the first instance before we can consider you for an award.

To reflect this, a Notional EU Income (NEI) of £181 per week will be applied to full time EU applications (£145 to those with dependents or who have a disability). 

The EU Hardship Fund is open from 1 October 2018 to the 31 May 2019. Please note that final year students must submit their completed and fully documented applications by 10 May 2019 otherwise we will be unable to consider your request for financial assistance. The University will only consider one application to this Fund in each academic year. 

Although some EU students may receive some support from the EU Hardship Fund, it will not be sufficient as an income in its own right, and can only be seen as a supplement to funding from other sources. The fund cannot pay tuition fees.

Awards to successful applicants will be capped as follows:

  • Those with dependant/disabilities up to £500.
  • Final year students without dependants up to £400.
  • Non final year students without dependants £300.

For an application form please contact the Student Funding Unit by calling +44 1752 587680, by email at studentfunding@plymouth.ac.uk or in person by visiting the Ground Floor, Nancy Astor Building.

If you are a home student, please complete the Financial Support Fund application form.

What Just Happened Fund

The What Just Happened Fund provides help for you and your family if you're receiving emergency hospital care. It was established in 2013, thanks to Plymouth graduate April Watkins, and matched funding from the University.

The fund provides limited financial support for you – and/or your close family or friends – for costs incurred at short notice if you unexpectedly require treatment for a serious injury or illness while you're studying at the University. The financial help available can be used towards the cost of travel, accommodation, and food and drink during the stay.

April had the idea for the fund while recovering from emergency surgery and chemotherapy to treat a brain tumour. Fortunately, her father was able to stay with family in Cornwall while visiting her in hospital, but the situation got April thinking about those whose families might struggle to afford the costs of visiting their loved one.

Determined to make a difference, April set about fundraising through events such as masked balls, pub quizzes and cake sales, and was overwhelmed by the level of support she received.

April, who graduated in September 2013 with a 2:1 in Sociology, donated the money raised to the University to establish the fund.

“It is my hope that this money will mean that someone else in my position – in hospital, hundreds of miles from home – can have the support of their loved ones by their bedside,” she says.

Claims to the fund can be made retrospectively all year round by completing and returning the application form to The Student Funding Unit (see our contact details on this page).

Download the What Just Happened fund application form

The Office of Fair Access (OFFA) access agreements

Through its access agreements approved by the Office for Fair Access (OFFA), the University has committed a proportion of its income from tuition fees to support your access and success if you're from a lower income background or other under-represented group.

You’ll find the University's access agreements on the OFFA website.

The Helena Kennedy Foundation

The Helena Kennedy Foundation offers support to disadvantaged students who have overcome significant barriers in order to continue with their education at university level. Each year, the Helena Kennedy Foundation invites FE Colleges, Adult Education Centres and Sixth Form Colleges to nominate a student to receive a £1,500 bursary sponsored by the University of Plymouth, to support their progression to higher education.

Application forms and eligibility criteria are available online.

The University does not administer the Helena Kennedy awards. For further information please contact the foundation, email admin@hkf.org.uk

The Mayflower Award, 2019 entry

The University of Plymouth is proud to offer students a life-changing, transformative experience whilst they learn and research. We also know that embarking on such an exciting experience can be daunting and students from particular groups may face additional difficulty in accessing higher education.

To support the University’s ambitions around widening participation, we are pleased to offer financial support in the form of a bursary (The Mayflower Award) to undergraduate students from the following groups:

  • Students whose household income is between £0 and £35,000 per year.
  • Care leavers.
  • Students who are estranged from their families.
  • Young adult carers.

Students from a household where the annual income is less than £35,000 per year will have their eligibility checked for the award automatically once a full funding application has been assessed and finalised with Student Finance England. The award is paid in two instalments in the student’s first year of study.

Students from one of the other above groups must contact the Student Funding Team as soon as they have enrolled at the University of Plymouth so that we can assess eligibility and organise for any bursary to be paid. The award is allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Mayflower Award is available to students who are entering into their first year of study on their first course in September 2019, who are identified as being domiciled in England and whose household income is between £0 and £35,000.

You must be paying the full tuition fee for the year and be in receipt of the full funding package from Student Finance England.

This award is granted automatically – no separate application is needed. All eligible recipients will be automatically identified from University and Student Finance England systems.

Please note; payment is dependent on satisfactory attendance.

If you have had ANY previous Higher Education study on any course, you will not be entitled to this award. This includes not completing all or part of a course or not gaining a qualification on it.

It is a student’s responsibility to declare if they have had ANY previous HE study, particularly if at a different institution or if taken in previous years as our record systems may not be able to see this. If you have been earmarked or contacted for a Mayflower Award but fall into the previous study category, you will need to contact studentfunding@plymouth.ac.uk as soon as possible as your eligibility may change or be cancelled and you could be asked to repay part or all of the award.

Please note that if you are re-assessed at any point during the year by Student Finance or by the University, your award could be amended or cancelled appropriately.

The Mayflower Award is payable only in the first year of study and will not be repeated in subsequent years.

Partner College students whose fees are paid directly to the college that they are studying at are NOT eligible for this award.

Young Adult Carers Award 2018

The University encourages students and applicants who are Young Adult Carers to make contact with the Student Funding Unit to work out a package of support during their studies, ensuring that you have the best possible student experience. 

We know that not all students will want to use this service and there is no obligation to do so, but by making us aware of your situation, you could be able to receive additional financial and / or pastoral support.

In the first instance, there is a University of Plymouth Young Adult Carers Award worth up to £1200 per academic year, depending on individual circumstances. 

In addition to this we would like to support you with a range of student services which will take your situation as a carer into consideration. We also have links with Improving Lives Plymouth’s Caring For Carers group to ensure that both you and the person you are caring for are receiving the external support you need.

Everyone is different. That’s why we’ll work with you to create a personalised package of support. This package can be reviewed at any time to suit you.

Here are some ways we might be able to help:

  • Meeting you at University events, such as open days, interview and applicant days.
  • Providing you with student funding help and advice and helping you to complete student finance forms.
  • Signposting you to the other support services available at the University and liaising with them as necessary.
  • Supporting you with academic issues, including liaising with your faculty and tutors should you wish.
  • Being someone to talk to if you need to.
  • Providing support and advice before you start your course.
  • Being a dedicated point of contact within the University.

Who is a young adult carer?

Young adult carers are:
  • Aged between 18 and 25.
  • People who care for or look after a family member, friend or other individual, due to disability, chronic or terminal illness, mental health difficulty or drug/alcohol dependency or another reason. The Young Adult Carer does not need to live at the same address as the person they care for. Young Adult Carers often juggle their caring responsibilities with University study yet many Young Adult Carers do not realise that they are undertaking a caring role. 

Managing caring responsibilities alongside student life can at times be challenging. It is for this reason that we want to ensure that Young Adult Carers receive appropriate support to enable them to effectively balance their academic studies with their caring responsibilities.

Claiming Carers’ Allowance

Typically, full-time students are not eligible to claim Carer’s Allowance. If you are claiming Carers’ Allowance prior to starting your university course, your eligibility for this benefit will cease when you enrol at university.

It is important that you notify the Benefits Agency that you have started full-time study to make sure you do not accrue subsequent overpayment.

To arrange an initial chat or for further information, please get in touch with our friendly Student Funding Unit team via email at studentfunding@plymouth.ac.uk with '2018 Young Adult Carers' in the subject field.

Santander Scholarships

Open to University of Plymouth students (both undergraduate and postgraduate) and staff who wish to undertake a period of research, study or work based learning in any country within the Banco Santander network.
Find out more about the scholarships

Care Leavers Bursary – changes for students commencing a course in September 2018

Students who will be entering onto a course at the university from September 2018 can be considered for an award provided that they have taken out the full student funding package from Student Finance England/Student Finance Wales (i.e.Tuition fee loan and maintenance loan) AND have been given Care Leaver Status by Student Finance England/Student Finance Wales.

For further information please visit Student Finance England for the definition of a Care Leaver.

Please note: 

  • Partner College students are not eligible for this award from the University of Plymouth and should instead enquire about any available support from their college.
  • Students who are not funded by Student Finance England/Wales/Northern Ireland but instead receive a grant/grants for their studies or tuition fees will not be entitled to the award.
  • Students who have already gained a degree will not be eligible to receive the bursary.
  • Students who have had previous study where a bursary has been paid can only be considered for an award on an individual basis subject to circumstances, usually if there are extenuating circumstances involved. Any previous bursary award will be taken into consideration so if an application is successful the bursary may not be payable for the entire duration of your studies.