Keele Hardship Fund

Our Hardship Fund is a discretionary fund available to students experiencing severe financial hardship during their time at Keele University. Each application is assessed on a case-by-case basis, and successful applicants could be awarded up to £2,500.

Applications for the 2022/23 Hardship Fund are currently open and will close in summer 2023.

We are currently receiving an extremely high volume of applications and are working through these as quickly as possible. Due to the volume of applications, our processing timescales are longer than usual. If you are planning to apply for the Hardship Fund, please ensure that you have read through the Application Guidance Document including the evidence checklist. If you are in urgent need of financial support (for example, if you are struggling to purchase food and essentials) please email us at instead as we may be able to put temporary support in place for you while you wait for your Hardship Fund application to be processed.

Any Keele University student (undergraduate or postgraduate, home or international, full-time or part-time, including apprentice learners) who is facing severe financial hardship can apply to the Hardship Fund, provided that the student meets the eligibility criteria.

We would consider severe financial hardship to be where a student is struggling to afford essential costs such as accommodation, food and necessary travel.

You must meet the following criteria to be able to apply for the Hardship Fund:

  • Be a current Keele student
  • Demonstrate a shortfall between your income and reasonable expenditure which you are unable to resolve without financial support
  • Demonstrate that you have exhausted all other available financial assistance prior to application (for example, you must have applied for your full Student Finance entitlement if applicable)

We will not be able to consider your application if you did not make reasonable provision to cover your living costs prior to the start of your course. Similarly, you will not be eligible for an award if you have significant expenditure on non-essential purchases or services (such as holidays, premium brand clothing...), or if you have transferred large sums of money to family or friends.

Although we will consider applications from any student, we give priority to the following student groups when deciding how to allocate awards:

  • Students with children
  • Students with caring responsibilities
  • Care leavers
  • Students who are estranged from their family
  • Students with a disability

Our Hardship Fund application system is managed within the Blackbullion platform. Once you’ve registered with Blackbullion, you will find the online application for the Hardship Fund in the ‘Funding’ tab.

The application will ask you questions about your course and your individual circumstances. You will also need to upload evidence to support your application. We won't be able to process applications without the required evidence. If any evidence is missing or unclear in your application, we'll request this evidence from you via email, and so it’s important that you register for Blackbullion with an email address that you check regularly (such as your Keele email address).

All students applying to the Hardship Fund must also complete the short Budgeting 101 module in Blackbullion before we are able to assess your application.

If you need help with your application, please contact the Financial Support Team by sending an email to:

Once you have submitted your application, you will be able to track its progress within the Blackbullion platform (in the ‘Funding’ tab).

If any evidence is missing or unclear in your application, we will request this evidence from you via email, but this will also show on your application tracker. If you haven’t heard from us in a while, you may want to login to Blackbullion to check if we’ve requested additional evidence from you. If we don’t receive the requested evidence within 2 weeks, we will close your application unless you have contacted us to let us know about any delay.

If at any point you wish to withdraw your application, you can do this in Blackbullion.

Once we’ve received all the required supporting evidence from you, we will then assess your application. We will look at your expected income across the academic year and what we consider to be reasonable expenditure on living costs (such as accommodation, travel and course-related costs), to determine whether you have a shortfall.

We assess each application on a case-by-case basis and will take into account your individual circumstances wherever possible.

We are not able to take your tuition fees into account in your assessment as you should have made reasonable provision for this cost prior to starting your course.

It normally takes up to 4 weeks for an application to be processed once we’ve received all the required supporting evidence. Any delays in providing your supporting evidence will result in a delay in your application being processed. If we don’t receive your evidence within 2 weeks of us requesting this, we will close your application unless you have contacted us to let us know about any delay.

We are currently experiencing an extremely high volume of applications and, due to this, it's taking longer than usual to process applications. Please contact if you need urgent financial assistance while your application is being processed.

Once your application has been processed, we will contact you by email to notify you of the outcome.

We will consider applications from all students on a case-by-case basis, and your eligibility for an award will depend on a number of factors.

Students can be awarded up to £2,500 per academic year. As the Hardship Fund has limited resources, it may not always be possible to cover your full additional financial need.

Your award amount will be calculated based on your individual application assessment. If your application is successful, we will notify you of your award amount by email.

You will be asked to provide your bank details (account number and sort code) in your Hardship Fund application. It’s important that you check that these are correct as if your application is successful, your award will be sent by bank transfer to the bank details you have provided.

Applications are assessed based on your income and expenditure across the full academic year. For this reason, we are unable to accept subsequent applications for the Hardship Fund in the same academic year unless there has been a significant change in your financial circumstances since your first application.

You are welcome to re-apply the following year if you continue to experience financial hardship, although please keep in mind that unforeseen difficulties in the previous year will no longer be considered unforeseen if you re-apply.

We work in a methodical and systematic way, using guidance from the National Association of Student Money Advisors (NASMA), to ensure that we award funding fairly and proportionately to those who need it most. If you would like an explanation about how we assessed your application, please let us know and we will be happy to discuss this with you: 

Financial Support Team (

After this, if you feel that we have not assessed your application fairly, you will be able to make a formal complaint by sending an email addressed to the Head of Student Wellbeing who will aim to respond to you within 5 working days of your complaint. If you wish to make a formal complaint, you must do so within 4 weeks of receiving the outcome of your application. 

Alison Felton - Head of Student Wellbeing (