Many students will struggle financially at some point during their time at university.

Many students will struggle financially at some point during their time at university.  This might be due to having issues with their student funding application or because of learning to budget.

If you do experience financial difficulties, or have any questions, contact us as soon as possible. Our experienced advisers can help you to understand your rights and explore all your options with you. 

Try downloading one of our self-help money resources or find your answer to the questions below!

How much funding can I get?

In order to be entitled to funding, you must meet the personal eligibility requirements and your course must be eligible. The UKCISA website has detailed information about the eligibility criteria

Your entitlement may also be affected if you have undertaken study at the same level (or higher) previously, or if you have a higher education qualification.

Some elements of student funding, including a portion of the maintenance loan, are means-tested and the amount you receive will depend on household income.

There is also additional funding if you have dependants or a disability, if you meet the relevant criteria - as well as the opportunity to receive extra funding if you are studying a particular course such as social work or certain healthcare or teaching courses.

If you are unsure about your eligibility, what you may be entitled to, how student funding interacts with benefits, what counts as income for benefits purposes, or you have any other funding questions, please contact the Advice Service who can provide a funding check and/or benefits calculation.


Undergraduate Funding 2020/21

Please read our detailed Guide to Undergraduate Funding in our self-help resources section for more information.

The guide refers to the Academic Year 2019/20 but will be updated soon for the coming year; however, most of the information is still valid.

If you have any queries in relation to this, please contact us via our Contact Us page.

You can also find information and apply for undergraduate funding here


Healthcare courses

New students studying a healthcare course starting in 2020/21 or later can apply for funding through Student Finance England (SFE) plus additional grants through the NHS Learner Support Fund.  More information is available here and here, and in our information leaflet ‘Funding for Students on Healthcare Courses from September 2020’ in the self-help resources.  Note that this leaflet is currently being updated.

Whether you are entitled to funding (and what you can get) will depend on your personal eligiblity, what course you are studying and whether you have undertaken previous study and what that was (including whether you have registration already).  

If you are not sure what you should be getting, contact the Advice Service for a funding check.  It is a good idea to do this before you start your course.

Healthcare students who started their course on or after 1 August 2017 and who are eligible for tuition fee and maintenance loans from Student Finance England (SFE) may also be able to receive additional funding from the NHS through the Learner Support Fund.  This funding is on top of the funding from SFE and the 'extra funding' options referred to later on this page.

If you started your course prior to 1 August 2018, see here for more information about funding.

If you're studying to be a doctor or dentist see here.

Postgraduate Funding

Some postgraduate courses are eligible for the same funding that undergraduate students can receive (e.g. eligible courses of Initial Teacher Training, certain pre-registration postgraduate healthcare courses); see here for more details.  However, generally postgraduate courses have specific funding entitlements.

Information about funding for postgraduate courses, including Master's and Doctoral Loans from Student Finance England, can be found in our Guide to Postgraduate Funding in our self-help resources section.  Note that this leaflet is currently being updated.  You can apply for funding and find out information here  

You can contact us with any questions about your funding entitlements via our Contact Us page

I haven't received my loan?

You will not receive any loan payments until a few days after you have enrolled on your course. You can check your online account and make sure you have submitted all the requested documents and declaration.

You can contact the agency providing the loan:

Student Finance England - 0300 100 0607
Student Finance Wales - 0300 200 4050
Student Awards Agency for Scotland - 0300 555 0505
Student Finance Northern Ireland - 0300 100 0077

Keep a record of any contacts you have with the agency. You can use the phones in the Student Advice Centre at the HUBS for free and we can offer further support if you need it.

Can I claim benefits whilst I'm a student?

Most students in full-time Higher Education are not eligible to claim benefits for the duration of their course, including summer vacations. Part-time students are not affected by these rules and can usually claim in the same way as non-students, though there may be some restrictions (e.g. if the DWP feels that your part-time course affects your ability to meet any work-related requirements of the particular benefit).

The following students may be entitled to benefits even on a full-time course:

• Lone parents
• Students with a child/ren (there may be some restrictions if you fall into this category, depending on which benefit(s) you are claiming - seek advice)
• Those with limited capability for work
• Disabled students
• Students who have taken time out from their course due to illness or caring responsibilities which has ended but they have not yet returned to their course.

If you cannot claim benefits as a full-time student, your non-student spouse or partner may be able to claim on behalf of the household, so long as they fit the normal criteria.  Whether this is necessary will depend on the benefit(s) you are claiming and your / your partner's circumstances.  It is best to seek individual advice.

Calculating benefit entitlements for students is complicated and benefits authorities can make mistakes. Some student funding is considered as income for benefits purposes (including if you are entitled to funding but choose not to apply for it), but some is also disregarded. If you think you are entitled to benefits, or think you may have received a wrong decision, contact us for a benefits check and further advice.  We also have a Guide to Higher Education Students and Universal Credit in our self-help resources section (note, this leaflet is currently being updated).

Is there extra funding available?

If you are an undergraduate (or PGCE in some cases) 'home' student and you started your course in 2017/18 or later, you can apply for the SHU Student Success Scholarship.  You may also be eligible to apply for the Sheffield Hallam Hardship Fund if you experience unforeseen extenuating circumstances.

You may also be eligible for other bursaries; see here for more information. 

If you started your course prior to 2017/18, you can apply to the Sheffield Hallam Hardship Fund if you are experiencing general financial hardship or financial difficulties due to unforeseen extenuating circumstances.

You will need to have been assessed for your full student funding entitlement as a 'home' student (i.e. not just tuition fee support) before you can apply for the Student Success Scholarship. The Advice Service can do a funding check for you. 

If you have applied on time for your funding but are still waiting to receive it, or you are experiencing a short-term financial crisis, you may be able to apply for emergency food vouchers.

If you are a postgraduate 'home' student, you may be eligible for food vouchers and can apply to the Sheffield Hallam Hardship Fund if you are experiencing financial difficulties due to unforeseen extenuating circumstances.  Also, if you are a PGCE student and you are not receiving a separate PGCE / Initial Teacher Training Bursary, you may be eligible for the Student Success Scholarship depending on your circumstances (see above).

The form and guidance notes are available here and give more details of who might receive an award and how to apply.

If your circumstances have changed you may become entitled to benefits or increased student funding. However, it will depend on your individual circumstances and you should seek advice.  Also, if you are experiencing financial difficulties and this is affecting your ability to study, speak to your Student Support Adviser, come to the Advice Service, or see our academic pages for more information about studying in difficult circumstances.

Do I have to pay Council Tax?

Full-time students do not generally have to pay Council Tax. You can prove your student status by downloading a copy of your Certificate of Student Status from 'My Student Record' via My Hallam and submitting this to your local Council.

If you live with a non-student there may still be a bill to pay. You may be able to receive a 'single person discount' if there is only one adult in the property who is not exempt, for example, a spouse or partner.

You may also be entitled to Council Tax Support. Each Local Authority has its own scheme, so you should seek details from the relevant authority.

If you are not sure if you should pay Council Tax contact the Advice Service for further advice. If you are liable for Council Tax you should ensure that you maintain a regular payment agreement with the local authority. If you do not pay your Council Tax bill you may be issued with a Court Summons and Liability Order. Both of these incur extra costs. If you do not contact the local authority about arrears or fail to make payments, Enforcement Agents (formerly known as bailiffs) can be instructed to collect arrears from you. If you receive any letters regarding this action seek advice immediately.

Can I get funding to repeat a year?

If you have failed a year of your course or had to take a break in study, and you have not previously repeated any years, you should be able to use your 'gift year' to fund an additional year of study. All Student Finance England funded students are allocated funding for the length of their course plus an extra year, which is called a 'gift year'.

If you have previously been enrolled on a different Higher Education course you may be subject to 'Previous Study rules' which may prevent you from receiving any extra years of funding needed to complete the course (this applies to fee support; you may still be eligible for support with your living costs). If this applies please contact the Advice Service.

If you have experienced illness or other extenuating circumstances during the year you can apply to Student Finance England to grant you discretionary additional tuition fee funding for Compelling Personal Reasons (CPR). If you think this applies to you please contact the Advice Service for further information and support.  You can also read our Guide to Compelling Personal Reasons in our self-help resources section.

To apply for support on the grounds of Compelling Personal Reasons you will need to provide evidence of your situation from a professional agency/person, for example a letter from your GP giving details of your diagnosis and the dates it affected you (these need to be within the relevant affected academic year). You will also need to write to SFE explaining why you are applying and which year it is for.

If you only need to repeat part of the year, you should still remain enrolled on a full-time course and therefore be eligible for full-time funding subject to the rules around previous study. However, you may only get funding for part of the year depending on when you are required to be in attendance. To check your individual circumstances, seek advice from the Student Advice Centre.

What can I do if I can't pay for a bill or money I owe?

If you are unable to pay something you may be able to negotiate with the company or person you owe the money to. The sooner debts are dealt with the better. The creditor may allow you to arrange a repayment plan. Don't increase your debts to pay things off and don't agree to an unaffordable repayment plan.

Some debts are classed as priority debts - these are considered the most important and the ones you should pay first.  These include:

• Rent or mortgage (or secured loan arrears)
• Council Tax
• Utilities - gas, electricity
• Court fines
• Hire purchase for essential items
• TV Licence

There are others; see the Citizens Advice website for more information.

Non-payment of priority debts may lead to eviction / the loss of your home, disconnection of supply, reposession of goods, magistrate's fines / other punishments, and even imprisonment.

Non-priority debts include;

• Bank loans and overdrafts
• Credit cards, store cards and catalogues
• Hire purchase for non-essential items
• Pay day loans
• Telephone (unless essential, e.g. because of a health condition)
• Informal loan from friends or family

Non-payment of non-priority debts may lead to interest and charges added to the debt, goods being repossessed, or County Court Judgements.  See the Citizens Advice website for more information.

Debts to the University could result in you being unable to progress, graduate or being excluded from University IT access until any money owed is paid.  In some circumstances, students may be withdrawn from their course for non-payment of tuition fees.

If you are concerned about money you owe and what you should do contact the Advice Service for help immediately.


The University offers a free online resource, Blackbulion, to help you learn how to manage your money. 89% of the students who use it feel more confident about their financial future. Visit go.shu.ac.uk/manageyourmoney to start saving today.  

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