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The Linacre Hardship Fund has seen a large increase in hardship grant applications since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. When the labs, libraries, and archives stayed closed for a long period, many of our students had to extend their studies beyond the term of their original funding, and some, supported by families whose incomes have been disrupted, have found themselves short of funding. Many also found they could no longer find the part-time employment they previously relied on to pay for their studies.
In a normal academic year, the Hardship Fund deals with between 15 to 20 requests. Since March 2020, we have received more than 100 requests for help. We have been able to provide grants to 80 hardship applicants and directed applicants who did not meet the funding criteria to more appropriate sources elsewhere. The most common grant awarded is £500 to deal with a short-term funding gap in living costs.
We have also been able to award 16 Writing-up Bursaries to students who would otherwise have struggled with costs during the final months of their degree. In some cases, this has made the difference between a student having the funding to support themselves, and having to abandon their studies.
Hardship funding applications continue to come in at a higher than usual rate and it is likely that this unusual level of requests will remain throughout this current academic year and beyond. Our students potentially face further unexpected disruption to their studies and Linacre’s ability to support students in hardship is especially important as a safety net in our current times.