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The Cost of Living crisis will affect everyone, especially students who are already financially stretched. Over the summer we’ve been working to establish new and expanded support for students who may be facing financial hardship over the coming year. Our Sabbatical Officers have worked closely with staff across UCL to both highlight the importance of increased financial support, and to devise new ways to get financial support to students.

UCL estimates essential living costs to be between £261 to £327 per week, not including tuition, depending on level of study and accommodation type. However, a quarter of students report having just under £12 per week to live off. As a result, in a recent NUS survey, many students said they were unable to afford basic items including textbooks (23%) and food, with half (49%) reporting skipping a meal and 5% reporting using a food bank.

During this year, our focus will be on making sure students in urgent financial need are supported, able to undertake their studies, and can participate in the kind of activities that are essential for forming friendships and being part of the community here.

A new Cost of Living Hub brings together all the advice and practical support from across UCL into one place. On the hub, you’ll find information like how to loan laptops and how to access guidance about emergency accommodation, alongside financial advice and links to services across the university.

New Support Available from Students' Union UCL

We are launching new and expanded support this year, including:

An additional £400,000 of funding in our hardship fund, The Sarah Douglas Hardship Fund -

  • Open to all students.
  • Grants can be awarded to assist with one-off urgent expenses and short-term financial shortfalls for finite periods.
  • We anticipate awards will usually be around £1000 (or 1 month's living expenses). In exceptional circumstances awards may be granted up to a maximum of £3,000.
  • The fund is for anyone who cannot access UCL's Financial Assistance Fund (or have not been successful in their application) but are in financial need.
  • Emergency cash grants of up to £150 paid into your bank account.
  • Aimed at supporting immediate urgent living expenses (such as groceries, travel, childcare etc...).
  • Non-repayable.

An additional £150,000 available through the Participation Fund

  • Helping all students access activities to aid their personal development, avoid loneliness and isolation, and live a fulfilling student life whilst at UCL regardless of their financial situation.
  • Grants available to help with membership fees, travel expenses, specialist kit and equipment.

A new Gender Expression Fund of £3,000 -

  • Open to people experiencing feelings of stress and anxiety at the disconnect they feel between their gender identity and appearance.
  • Grants can be used to purchase gender affirming products such as clothing, binders, packers and beauty products.
  • Grants can also be used towards travel to medical or therapy appointments, but we are not able to provide funding for treatment or other medical procedures.
  • We anticipate grants will usually be around £50, but in expectational circumstances may be up to a maximum of £100.

UCL have confirmed the following additional funding

Getting the most from campus

Being a student, especially in London, can be expensive. However, there are ways to make your funding stretch further on campus.

Our bars and cafes will always be better value than high street chains, so if you’re craving a coffee on campus, or can’t make your own, places like Gordon’s or the Print Room offer the best value. You’ll even get 25p off your hot drink if you bring your own cup.

Our gym, Bloomsbury Fitness, has frozen student membership prices for the third year in a row. We also don’t charge a joining fee, and we’re approximately half the cost of other nearby gyms.

We’ve put together a guide to all the free places you can sit and study, from libraries, to social spaces to cafes.

Bringing your own food to campus can be a really cost effective way to eat whilst you’re in between lectures. Microwaves are available in most departmental common rooms, on the third floor of the Student Centre, in the George Farha Café (towards the back), and in the Bloomsbury Common Room on the 2nd Floor of the Bloomsbury Theatre building.

If you’re looking to top up your finances, a part-time job is a good place to start. We employ hundreds of students across the Students’ Union to run our bars, cafes, gym shops and loads of other services. We pay the London Living Wage and offer flexible working. Keep an eye on the JobShop for the latest roles.

Our work in this area won’t stop now – we’ll continue to improve and expand these funds, and make it as simple as possible to help students access financial support. Over the coming months, working with Students' Union's across London, we'll be looking at London wide policy such as student travel. We'll share updates on this page.