Extra money for those who need it

Find out if you might be eligible to apply for some extra money to help plug the gap in your finances.

If you’ve planned your budget and your main source of funding is not quite enough to cover all your essential costs, or if something unexpected happens and leaves you struggling financially, you may be able to get some help.

NTU Undergraduate Discretionary Hardship Fund

The Discretionary Hardship Fund is an amount of money provided by the University to assist eligible UK home undergraduate students who are facing financial difficulties because the funding they have in place for their studies is not quite enough to cover their essential living expenses.

What help is available?

If you are a student eligible for an award, a non-repayable grant is paid from the Discretionary Hardship Fund to supplement your main source of funding for their undergraduate course and offer some support in meeting any shortfall between their income and expenditure. However, due to the high demand for assistance, the fund cannot meet a student’s shortfall in full. Neither can the fund compensate for an absence of funding or a student’s failure to make adequate financial provision for their studies.

Am I eligible to apply and receive help?

  1. To be eligible for apply, you must meet all the follow criteria:
    • You are studying at least 25% of an equivalent full-time undergradate programme; and
    • You are fully enrolled and attending your course; and
    • You satisfy the residence criteria to be classed as a UK ‘home’ student for fees and funding purposes ; and
    • You have applied for the maximum maintenance loan to which you are entitled during 2020/21 academic year; and
    • You have completed the budgeting pathway on Blackbullion and achieved a mark of at least 90%.
  2. To receive an award from the discretionary hardship fund, your application form and evidence must demonstrate a shortfall between your annual income and expenditure against the standard hardship fund assessment criteria.  Be aware that the assessment of income and expenditure for hardship fund purposes, will not necessarily match your own calculations, as we will only allow essential expenditure and we use a combination of standardised figures and caps on expenditure to ensure fairness and consistency.  In addition, we will often assume certain types of income if we think you can reasonably access it.  If you have savings, this will also be taken into consideration. Further information about this is available in the guidance notes that accompany the application form.


When do I apply?

You can apply anytime from when the fund opens on Tuesday 13th October.

While the fund can sometimes respond to one-off emergencies that arise due to unforeseen circumstances, the assessment will normally consider your financial circumstances over the whole academic year, so you do not have to be in immediate financial crisis in order to apply.

In order to ensure all applications can be assessed and payments processed by the end of the academic year, applications will close on Friday 14th May 2021 and all required evidence needs to be submitted by Wednesday 19th May. After this time, those continuing students who need support during the summer vacation (for example those who are unable to take up paid employment due to health or caring responsibilities) will be eligible to apply for limited support from a summer vacation hardship fund .

How do I apply?

There are a few essential steps you need to follow in order to apply to the fund…

Step 1: Register with Blackbullion and complete ONE Pathway

Before we can assess your application to the Discretionary Hardship Fund, you will need to do an online learning module. We want all students to be able to plan their finances and manage their money well, including making spending choices that enable them to live within their means as far as possible. As such, we want students to pick and complete whichever of the below listed modules that they think will be most beneficial for their financial circumstances.

Follow the link to access the Blackbullion online learning platform.

and click on either 'Log in' (if you have already registered) or 'Sign up' if you are creating an account you list Nottingham Trent University as your University. You will need to register using your NTU student ID number.  

Once registered, you need to click on one of the pathways listed below, where you will be prompted to watch a series of short videos and complete quizzes. Where applicable you will need to complete the final quiz in order for the pathway to be completed.

You will need to complete ONE of the following pathways:

- Budgeting – 22 mins
(where this was completed in 2019/20, students are asked to complete an alternative pathway for 2020/21),

- 21 Days of Saving – 21 mins

- Debt – 21 mins

- Risk – 38 mins

- Nursing and Healthcare Students – 21 mins
(only for students on courses eligible for the NHS Learning Support Fund)

Please note that information about the online learning pathways you have undertaken, and the score received, will be visible to the department of Student Support Services.  This will be used by our fund administrators to determine whether you have completed this step successfully and therefore eligible for your application to the discretionary hardship fund to be assessed.

Step 2: Complete the online Discretionary Hardship Fund application form

Click on this link to complete the 2020/21 Discretionary Hardship Fund Online Application Form

Step 3: Provide any outstanding evidence

If you were unable to upload all of the evidence required at the time you submitted your application, or where you are contacted directly as additional evidence is requested, this will need to be provided through our DHF 2020/21 Additional Evidence Upload form on Microsoft Teams, before we can assess your application. Please note you will need to log into the form with your NTU ID in order to submit evidence. For improved online security, we will no longer accept evidence sent via email.

Not providing the correct supporting evidence can cause significant delays in your application. To support you in providing the correct evidence with your application, you may wish to read our Discretionary Hardship Fund Supporting Evidence Guide.

We are only able to assess an application once we have received a completed application along with all requested supporting evidence and have confirmation that you have completed your preferred Blackbullion pathway.

Please refer to the Discretionary Hardship Fund application process flowchart for further information on timescales, although please be aware that these may be longer during peak times.

What happens next?

Once we receive your application, we will check that we have all the necessary information and that you have completed the budgeting pathway on Blackbullion.

We will contact you via your NTU email address if we need any further information from you, or if we need to refer you to our advice team for further discussion regarding your financial situation.

We will then follow a standard assessment procedure to calculate the shortfall between your annual income and essential expenditure.  If there is a shortfall, this figure will then be used to determine the annual level of support available from the Hardship Fund.  Please note that the fund can only offer a contribution towards any shortfall.

When considering income and expenditure, please be aware of the following:


  • Actual income from all sources must be declared but the figure used in the assessment may be different to what you declare (as some sources of income are disregarded while others are assumed).
  • Any savings must be declared and will count as income available to you.
  • Some sources of income will be assumed (e.g. potential earnings from employment in many cases; parental contribution for those not entitled to the maximum Student Finance and certain welfare benefits where there is a clear eligibility)


  • Only essential expenditure can be considered.
  • The assessment will not take into account expenditure on tuition fees as the fund is not able to pay money for fees.
  • To be equitable, most living costs are standardised in the assessment (e.g. food, bills, socialising) as these are common to all students.
  • Where living costs vary from student to student (e.g. accommodation, travel, and course costs), appropriate limits are placed on the amounts allowed in the assessment to ensure costs are reasonable.
  • Patterns of spending on bank statements will be checked and where concerns are identified, students will be referred for further advice and support with managing their money.

When will I hear if I am eligible to receive any money?

We aim to assess applications within 10 working days from the date we receive your application and all required evidence.  However, please be aware that at peak times, this may take longer. You should then receive an email notifying you of the outcome of your application via your NTU email address  (and payment into your account if you are eligible for an award) within a further 5-10 working days. Response times will differ for those students referred to us in an emergency situation.

Who do I contact about it?

Further information about the application process and eligibility for the fund is available by contacting our service as follows:

If you have not yet submitted an application to the fund and what to know about the application process, contact financial.support@ntu.ac.uk

If you have already submitted your application to the fund and want information about your application or have a query about support evidence, contact hardshipfunds@ntu.ac.uk

NTU Undergraduate Funding Delay Loan

If you are experiencing delays with your Student Finance payments and you have exhausted all other possible sources of funding, you may qualify for limited funding from the Emergency Loan Fund.

To qualify for funding you must meet the following criteria:

  • You must have submitted an application and all the necessary documentation to your national Student Finance Service; and
  • You must be actively chasing your National Student Finance service to secure your funds; and
  • You must have exhausted all other possible sources of funding (including overdraft facilities and loans from family)

This loan will only cover your basic food and travel needs. You will need to speak with one of our advisers to check the reason and likely length of the delay. Our advisers will assess your needs during the period until your funding arrives. Please be aware that all loans will need to be repaid immediately upon receipt of Student Finance Funding.

Please note Funding Delay Loans are only available to eligible students who have received none of their Student Finance funding. We are unable to offer the Funding Delay Loan where a student has received partial funding.

For further guidance please email financial.support@ntu.ac.uk .

Visit the Starting at NTU pages to find out how to get your funding at the start of term.

NTU International / EU Hardship Fund

If you are an International or EU (for fee purposes) student, and are facing sudden unforeseen financial hardship, you may be eligible to apply for emergency funding to contribute towards short-term living costs.

Please be aware that the fund is limited and not able to support cases of ongoing financial hardship. Priority is given to students in their final stages of study. You must be fully enrolled on a full-time award bearing course.

If you are an International student, you will be expected to evidence that you made adequate provision for your tuition fee and living costs prior to coming to the UK, and you’re your current financial hardship is a result of an unexpected change in your circumstances.

Email int.hardship@ntu.ac.uk for further details, and information on how to apply.

NTU Summer Vacation Hardship Fund

We set aside limited funds each summer, primarily to assist certain non-final year students who are not living in the parental home, either because their permanent home is in Nottingham, or because they are required to remain in Nottingham during the summer vacation for their studies.
Those who may be eligible for support include:

  • Students who are unable to take up paid employment over the summer vacation period due to illness or disability;
  • Lone parents with dependent children who have support needs during those parts of the summer vacation where they have little or no entitlement to benefits
  • Care leavers, former foyer residents and estranged students who are under the age of 25
  • Students who are unable to take up paid employment because they have work to complete or other compulsory academic commitments during the summer vacation which must be completed before the student is allowed to progress next year

We understand that some students may have difficulty finding suitable paid employment during the summer vacation, but the hardship fund cannot normally consider applications in these circumstances except from those who are deemed to be vulnerable.

Help with finding work is available from the University’s Job Shop.

Eligible students will be able to submit applications to the 2021 summer vacation fund from June 2021.

Where a student has applied to the Discretionary Hardship Fund during the 2019/20 academic year, and has been identified as potentially meeting the criteria for support from the summer vacation fund, they will normally` be sent information to their NTU email address, explaining how to apply to the fund. further information and a link to the online application when the fund opens. (This will only happen where students gave consent to be contacted at the time of their original application). Awards from the fund will not be paid until after the end of term.

If you think you may be eligible, you can contact the fund administrators by emailing hardshipfunds@ntu.ac.uk.

Nottingham Law School Hardship Fund

Students on the following courses should contact hardshipfunds@ntu.ac.uk to request details of the NTU Nottingham Law School Hardship Fund.

  • LLM LPC - Studying on a Full or Part Time basis
  • LLM Bar Professional Training Course
  • Graduate Diploma in Law
  • Graduate Diploma in Law - Distance Learning

Support Funds for Further Education students

If you are studying a further education course at our Brackenhurst site, there are a number funds you may be able to apply for if you have a low household income.

Educational Grants from Trusts and Charities

There are many trusts and charities which offer aid and assistance to students in financial difficulty.   It is important that you investigate every possible source of funding, and that you are aware of the application deadlines and eligibility criteria.

Please be aware that applying to trusts and charities can be a time-consuming process and requires patience and perseverance. Also, it rarely offers an immediate source of assistance. You are urged to seek advice from the financial.support@ntu.ac.uk , if your needs are more immediate.

Please make sure you fulfil the trust's or charity's basic criteria before make your application. A successful application requires a few things to come together well. Here are a few steps you can check to ensure your application is successful:

  • check you meet the criteria of the funder
  • fill out the application form correctly
  • be clear in your supporting statements and make it explicit that your circumstances match their required criteria, especially if you fit within one of their stated priority target groups
  • provide all the necessary supporting information and evidence.
  • Last updated: 14/10/2020