SOAS University of London

Student Advice and Wellbeing

Hardship Funds

  • International Students
  • Childcare
  • Additional Study Support
  • Law Students

Access to Learning Fund

SOAS Emergency Support Fund

What is the SOAS Emergency Support Fund?

If you are struggling financially or facing hardship as a result of the current situation related to Covid-19 you may be able to access short-term non-repayable financial support from the SOAS Emergency Support Fund. Applications can be submitted online, and there is an expectation that students supply all the required information for assessment.
Who can apply?

Any SOAS students experiencing financial difficulty due to the Covid-19 pandemic can apply.
How do I apply?

You can make an application for the SOAS Emergency Support Fund via our SOAS Hardship Fund Application Form. Please note that an award from the Fund is available for short term support only, and awards will be allocated on a case by case basis. We aim to process applications within 14 days to provide support as soon as possible to those who need it.

The SOAS Emergency Support Fund is limited and should not be viewed as a form of funding to replace long-term loss of income or meet all additional costs, however we will seek to support those who are facing unexpected hardship as best we can.

How much will I receive?

Awards will be made up to a maximum of £500. The minimum award will be £200. We will prioritise the following groups of students for support:-

• Students with caring responsibilities
• Students with children (especially lone parents)
• Students from low income families
• Students who are displaced people, refugees or asylum seekers
• Estranged students and those with experience of care
• Disabled students
• Students who have entered higher education from Foyers or who are homeless
• Foundation year students (as teaching continues in Term 3)

I need a laptop to study at home, can I apply?

Yes, if you are in financial difficulty and need help to buy a laptop to study at home and sit your exams remotely please apply to SOAS Emergency Support Fund. SOAS has had a donation of laptops and may provide you with one of these while supplies last, or money from the Fund towards the purchase of a laptop.

How do I apply?

To apply for the SOAS Emergency Fund please complete the SOAS Hardship Fund Application. Please explain in the statement section how the Covid-19 crisis has caused you hardship. Once you have completed and submitted the application form, you will be sent an automated email to your SOAS email address. Please reply to this with scans of supporting documents including bank statements for the past 3 months with money coming in or out over £100 explained, proof of rent, proof of income for the year such as student finance letter, payslips etc. If we need any further documents we will contact via your SOAS email address.

Once we receive your supporting documents, your application will be in the queue to be assessed. We aim to do this within 14 days. If your situation is urgent, please highlight this in the subject box when you send your documents and in exceptional cases payments may be expedited.

Access to Learning Fund

If after planning your budget for the year and working whenever you can, you are still unable to make ends meet, you should consider applying for a grant from the SOAS Access to Learning Fund. This fund is provided by SOAS and awarded using national guidelines to provide financial support to home students, where access to education might be inhibited by financial considerations or where students face exceptional or unforeseen financial difficulties.The Fund can also help students with above average needs, especially:

  • Students receiving the final year loan rate, who are in financial difficulty
  • Students with caring responsibilities
  • Students with children (especially lone parents)
  • Mature undergraduate students, especially those with existing financial commitments, including priority debts
  • Students from low income families
  • Students who are displaced people, refugees or asylum seekers
  • Estranged students and those with experience of care
  • Disabled students (especially where the DSA is unable to meet particular costs)
  • Students who have entered higher education from Foyers or who are homeless

Undergraduates - You must have been fully means-tested and receive the maximum amount of maintenance loan available to you before applying. We also need to see that you are using a student bank account with interest free overdraft facility unless you have credit issues.

Postgraduates - We expect to see that have taken the Post Graduate Loan. Before assessing we also check to see that you have an income for living costs of £248 per week (£199 for those with dependents or cannot work due to ill-health or disability). This income doesn't have to be from employment, it could be from a number of different sources including savings, private loans, benefits etc. 

Part-time students must be studying 50% or more of a full-time course (ie. at least 2 units in a year).  Disabled students, whose disability prevents them from studying at least 50% of a full time course, may apply for the Access to Learning Fund if they are studying at least 25% of a full time course.  

We will also check to see that all full time students are using the TfL 18+ Student Oyster Card to receive a 30% reduction on travel in London before assessing an application.

Part-students who receive an award will qualify for the TfL 18+ Student Oyster Card.

For more information about Access to Learning Fund please read the SOAS Access to Learning Fund Guidance 2019/20 (pdf; 146kb)  

Please complete the SOAS Hardship Fund Application.

International Students

SOAS Hardship Fund

International postgraduate and undergraduate students who encounter emergency unforeseen costs or unexpected financial hardship may be eligible to apply for a small grant usually up to £500 from the SOAS Hardship Fund.

We also have a fund specifically for students from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh with the same criteria.

You will need to be able to demonstrate that you had made reasonable provision for living costs and tuition fees before starting your programme, and provide evidence of your current hardship.

Students from the following groups would be considered a priority for assistance

  • Final Year Undergraduate
  • From a developing country
  • PhD Student writing up
  • Masters student writing dissertation

Please complete the SOAS Hardship Fund Application.


SOAS Childcare Fund

Any student who has childcare costs can apply to the Childcare Fund. The fund is not means tested, and provides a grant of up to £750 towards the cost of Ofsted registered childcare. To apply please complete the SOAS Hardship Fund Application below, providing supporting evidence which indicates your childcare costs and birth certificate(s) of your child/children. You do not need to provide any further supporting documentation unless you wish to apply for further support from the Access to Learning Fund.

The childcare fund is limited and distributed on a first come first served basis, so early application is advised.


I'm an international student can I apply? Yes, any student with childcare costs can apply once per academic year.

How long does it take to process my application? Up to 4 weeks.

What documents do I need to support the application? Receipts from a Ofsted registered childcare provider.

To apply please complete the SOAS Hardship Fund Application.

Additional Study Support

Additional Study Support Fund

If you began your undergraduate programme at SOAS in 2012 or later, and after budgeting are unable to cover all your costs, you can apply for SOAS Additional Study Support Funds. These are awarded based on the following criteria:
  • You must be from a group under-represented at SOAS
  • You must be undertaking your first undergraduate degree (students who currently hold a degree or who are transferring from another Higher Education degree will not be eligible)
  • You must ordinarily be resident in England
  • Your household income must be less than £25,000 as assessed by the Student Finance England (SFE)
  • You must have applied for all available funding

SOAS has 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 ethnic minority 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 that meeting these listed criteria alone will not guarantee this award as these are limited in number

To apply for Additional Study Support Funds please complete the SOAS Hardship Fund Application.

Applications can take up to 4 weeks to process

Law Students

Ballantyne Financial Assistance Fund for Law Students

Students registered for a programme in the School of Law who are experiencing financial need may apply to the Ballantyne Financial Assistance Fund for a grant. The Ballantyne Financial Assistance Fund supports two awards of £600 per academic year.

Applications will be assessed against the same eligibility criteria as the Access to Learning Fund. However, grants from the fund are to be made only to students registered on a School of Law undergraduate, postgraduate or research degree programme. No grant may exceed £600 and no student may receive more than £600 in any one academic year.

Applications can take up to 4 weeks to process. By making this application you will also be assessed for the Access to Learning and Additional Study Support Funds.

To apply please complete the SOAS Hardship Fund Application.

The Ballantyne Financial Assistance Fund was set up in 2016 as a result of the generosity over many years of William Ballantyne, a long-standing friend of the SOAS School of Law. William Ballantyne taught Arab Comparative Commercial Law and Arbitration as a Visiting Professor at SOAS and is author of Commercial Law in the Arab Middle East: The Gulf States (Lloyd’s of London Press, 1986); Law and Development in Arabia (Graham & Trotman, 1980); A Register of Laws of the Arabian Gulf (Lloyd’s of London Press, 1985) and Essays and Addresses on Arab Law (2000). He continues to practice as a barrister specialising in Arab Laws.