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Student Advice and Wellbeing

Hardship Funds

You shouldn’t have to suffer alone if you find you’re struggling financially during your studies. Our hardship funds exist to help you out in difficult circumstances.

Choose from:

UK students

SOAS Access to Learning Fund (ALF)

If, after planning your budget for the year and working whenever you can, you’re still unable to make ends meet, you could apply for a grant from our Access to Learning Fund.

We provide this fund, and follow national guidelines to give financial support to home students, where your access to education is affected by your finances, or where you’re facing exceptional or unforeseen financial difficulties.

The fund can also help students with above-average needs, for example if you have dependents, or are disabled, a lone parent, a mature student or final year student.

Please read these guidance notes, then download the application form for our Access to Learning Fund.

SOAS Additional Study Support Funds

If you began your undergraduate programme at SOAS in 2012 or later, and find you’re unable to cover all your costs after budgeting, you can apply for our Additional Study Support Funds.

To be eligible, you must:

  • be from a group under-represented at SOAS
  • be undertaking your first undergraduate degree (if you already hold a degree or are transferring from another Higher Education degree you won’t be eligible)
  • ordinarily be resident in England
  • have a household income of less than £25,000 as assessed by the Student Finance England (SFE)
  • have applied for all available funding.

We have many diverse groups but would particularly like to support:

  • students from low participation neighbourhoods
  • students from lower socio-economic groups
  • students with disabilities
  • students from black and minority ethnic groups
  • students from a school with an above regional average of students on free school meals
  • students from a school where a low percentage of students achieve 5 A-C GCSEs.

Please note: We have a limited number of awards, so meeting these criteria alone won’t guarantee you get it.  

To apply for Additional Study Support Funds please fill in our Access to Learning Fund application form.  

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EU & International students

SOAS Hardship Fund

If you encounter unforeseen or exceptional hardship, you could apply for a small grant from the SOAS Hardship Fund. Grants are usually limited to a £500 maximum.

We’ll consider the following as a priority:

  • Final year undergraduates
  • Students from a developing country
  • PhD students writing-up
  • Masters students writing dissertation

We also have a small fund for students from India, Pakistan or Bangladesh.

To apply for the SOAS Hardship Fund please fill in this application form.

SOAS Childcare Fund

The SOAS Childcare Fund can help you if you’re a Home, EU or International student and have childcare costs. We have a limited amount of £750 grants.

To apply, please fill in our Access to Learning Fund application form.

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Other sources of help

Debt counselling and advice

The Step Change Debt Charity (formerly the Consumer Credit Counselling Service) offers free debt advice and they also have a free student debt guide.  

If you do get into debt, however small, the golden rule is don't ignore it. Do something about it.

Even if there’s no way of reducing the debt or you can’t see a way out, someone else might be able to help – but you have to talk to someone to know. The International Student and Welfare Adviser is experienced at working with students with financial problems and will help to work out the best solution to every situation.

Useful websites:

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John Hitchman, International Student & Welfare Adviser
Tel: 020 7074 5014
email: welfare@soas.ac.uk
Student Advice and Wellbeing, Vernon Square, Room V30


SOAS Access to Learning Fund Application Form 1415 (msword; 208kb)

Access to Learning Fund guidance notes 1415 (msword; 50kb)

SOAS Hardship Fund application form (msword; 253kb) .