Support from Santander and alumni has added £250,000 to the fund, doubling the amount of assistance on offer

Alumni support helps students facing hardship during pandemic

The University of Exeter’s Emergency Assistance Fund, set-up to provide financial support to students facing hardship due to the coronavirus crisis, has double the funds thanks to long-term supporter Santander Universities and alumni donations.

A total of £250,000 has been added to the fund so that students can be supported during this challenging time.

Since the Emergency Assistance Fund was launched on 1 April, 299 applications have been made for assistance. The assessment team, supported by a number of volunteers from across the University, are dealing with applicants on the basis of need and prioritising urgent requests where students are facing extreme hardship. A triage system is in place and all applications are processed as soon as possible.

Almost all applications have been assessed, and decisions made in more than 240 cases. So far, £146,000 has been disbursed to students who are suffering unexpected financial difficulties due to the Coronavirus outbreak

Claimants are reporting hardship due to a variety of factors such as job losses, additional accommodation pressures relating to travel bans or isolation requirements; and the impact of illness on themselves or family members. Undergraduate students make up around two thirds of all applicants and initial analysis shows mature, BAME and Disabled students are being particularly impacted by the crisis.

A few anonyous comments from student recipients are below. Thank you to Santander and all alumni who have supported the Scholars Fund and allowed this to happen.

“I cannot quite express how much of a difference this is going to make. All I can say again is thank you so much. It is so wonderful that the university has put these measures in place - I was quite scared about how I was going to manage financially over these next few months, but this grant will allow me to survive whilst I figure out my next steps.”

“Thank you so much for even thinking to do this. It has lifted a weight from me this afternoon. I cannot say thank you enough.”

“You have made this worrying and uncertain time a lot better by your quick, efficient and communicative emails. Thank you also the alumni community and Santander Universities UK for making this financial help possible. “

“That's such a help and a huge relief! I really appreciate how much the university has done for me during this time.”

Date: 1 May 2020

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