The Hardship and Retention Fund


 Please note: Hardship applications will close for this academic year (2018/19) on Monday 15th July at 5pm, and will re-open in the new academic year. All applications received by the 15th July will require all supporting evidence to be submitted by Saturday 20th July. Failure to do so will result in your application being closed.


The Government gives every university funds each year to assist students who need extra financial support because they have higher than expected costs (such as single parents).  The Hardship and Retention Fund can be of particular help to the following groups of students: 

  • Mature students
  • Students with dependent children
  • Single parents
  • Students entering higher education from care
  • Students from low income backgrounds
  • Students with disabilities
  • Final year undergraduate students. 

Students may receive one of two types of awards:

Standard: This help may be given to meet course related costs such as childcare, books/equipment, travel or for general living costs.

Non-Standard: Help may be available to help in a crisis situation such as the repair of essential household equipment or for travel home for serious family illness or bereavement.

Most awards from the Fund are in the form of grants, although some short term loans may be available to meet temporary hardship such as delayed Student Maintenance Loan or severe cash-flow problems.

Eligibility for the Hardship and Retention Fund is restricted to home fee status undergraduate and postgraduate students who have been ordinarily resident in the UK for at least three years prior to the start of their course.

All applications are means tested and not all applications will be successful. 

Applying for Assistance

We strongly advise that before completing the online application for assistance from the Hardship and Retention Fund, you contact the Students' Guild Advice Unit (Exeter based students) or (Cornwall based students) for assistance in completing the online application form.


Please be aware that all correspondence will, by default, be through your University of Exeter e-mail address, regardless of the e-mail provided on your application form. If you are not able to access your Exeter e-mail account please make this clear in your supporting statement.

It is recommended that Firefox is used for the completion of the Hardship and Retention Fund and this should be free to download.

Contact us

If you can’t find the information you need please contact the SID Desk on 0300 555 0444 or +44 (0) 1392 724724 or