If you’re struggling financially, you may be eligible for an award from the Financial Assistance Fund (FAF) – to apply, you need to complete an application form and provide evidence to demonstrate your finances over the academic year.
However if information is missing, this can often cause applications to be delayed. So that you can make your application with as few problems as possible, here is a quick guide to what to include when you apply.
The supporting statement is your opportunity to tell us why you are applying for help. Are there any difficulties you have been having or specific costs that you cannot meet? Do you have to travel home often due to personal circumstances? Are you struggling to find part-time work? Do you have debts? Also don’t forget to fill in your income and expenditure in the relevant columns – we need to know how much it costs when you go home to see your family, how often you travel to university and how, as well as how much you think you will be spending on course costs (such as books, stationery, equipment, etc) over the year. Be honest and realistic, to get the most out of your application.
Student Finance England and NHS notification letters
These are essential to your application as they show how much loan or bursary or grant you are due to receive (which will usually be your main income at university). We need to see all pages relating to the current academic year. You can download the notification letter from your online account and then send it to us by email as an attachment.
We need to see something that confirms your name, address, how much you are paying and how often, and the length of your contract. If you don’t have a contract, please submit a signed copy of a letter from your landlord confirming these details.
We will need to see three months’ full bank statements for each account that you hold, including current accounts, online banking, savings accounts, ISAs, dormant accounts, etc. These need to show all transactions made, as well as your name, account number and sort-code. You may not receive statements by post, however, it is a good idea to regularly check these online as this can help you with budgeting. You should be able to download these, or get paper copies from your bank. For further guidance on downloads, please see our ‘FAF – get it right first time’ leaflet.
Benefit and Tax credits letters
Students are usually ineligible to receive benefits, although you might be eligible if you have children and/or disabilities. If you received these before coming to university, you need to be reassessed for these based on your new student income. If you are now receiving less in benefits than before you were a student, or are no longer eligible, this change of income will be considered within your FAF application. The team will advise you if we think you might be eligible to apply for benefits. If you have any benefit-related queries, you can make an appointment or attend a Drop-in with Citizens Advice, who are available on the ground floor of the Learning Hub, Waterside campus every Tuesday during term-time.
Proof of childcare costs
If you use childcare, please submit a copy of a signed letter or invoice on headed paper from your provider explaining how much you pay and how often.
If you use a car, we will need copies of your car insurance documents showing how much you pay and how often, as well as your car tax details. You can also submit MOT or maintenance invoices and receipts, but these need to have your name and car registration on them to be considered.
Check, check and check again!
Finally, read through the declarations page, tick the relevant boxes, sign and date.
You do not have to send us originals of documentation – you can scan or download documents and then send them to us at email@example.com
The team know that it can be difficult gathering all the information; however, you should have all of this to hand already and it is a good idea to get into the habit of keeping this information safe in case you need it. There is a checklist on the application form to guide you.
Remember that if you have any queries, you can contact the team by phone, email, or attend a Drop-in.