How to seek financial support at university

Sophia Lamberton 29 November 2021
Two people having a friendly conversation at a desk

Making ends meet can be tough for a student. Here's where you can find the help to get you through university without breaking the bank.

Struggling to make your student loan last until January? Or had an idea that you’re not sure how to secure the funding for? Here’s what you need to know about seeking financial help while at university and where you can find it.

Student’s Union

The first place to look is your Student Union. They can advise you on support available from the university and external organisations. The SU can help you with budgeting, finance, and finding out whether you’re entitled to any bursaries from the university.

It’s not always easy to talk about money, so look for someone you’ll feel comfortable speaking to. Ask them to support you with those first steps towards getting the help you need.

Remember that the government has given universities money to help students who are struggling financially because of the pandemic. The best bit is that if you meet the criteria, you won’t have to pay the money back!


Whether you’re a current or prospective university student, institutions can offer you all kinds of scholarships. This ranges from being the first person in your immediate family to go to university to your academic achievement.

Depending on which subject you study, you might be able to get sponsored by a company or your university. Check out your university’s website for information on what your faculty is offering that year. 

Bursaries and grants

Universities offer a range of bursaries that you won’t need to pay back. The money is there to support you through your studies if you’re struggling due to personal circumstances. Ask your SU about the bursaries available, and check out the government website and Turn2Us for more information on the topic.

Not sure whether you’re eligible for a bursary? Don’t be afraid to ask, because if you don’t ask, you won’t get it! It can sometimes be embarrassing talking about money, but speaking to someone can help you feel less stressed about your situation. 

There’s support available for students who meet a range of criteria, such as:

  • Disabled students
  • Estranged from your parents
  • First generation to study at university
  • Care leavers
  • Students from an ethnic minority background
  • Students from lower-income households
  • Cost of living payments

Fulfil your ambitions

Got a business idea or project you’d like to create and need some cash to get started? Universities sometimes offer grants to students who present them with an outline of what they plan to use the money for.

Some universities offer fully-funded training programmes to help students learn the basics of running a business. Look at your university's website or speak to your personal tutor to find out what options are there to help you.

Whatever your circumstances, there may well be something your institution can help you with. Follow this guide to find out more.

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Sophia Lamberton 29 November 2021