International Leeds Hardship Fund

The International Leeds Hardship Fund (ILHF) is a university funded scheme for EU and International students/PGRs who are facing genuine or unexpected financial hardship and who do not have alternative sources of financial support.  

The aim of the scheme is to help towards the payment of essential living costs, therefore reducing the risk of you not being able to continue with your chosen study.

Eligibility and residency criteria

To apply for International Leeds Hardship Funding you must be:

  • Classed as International or EU for the purpose of paying your fee*
  • Registered on a Higher Education course at the University of Leeds
  • Not have had Tier 4 sponsorship or Student Visa withdrawn**

Note, if you hold a Tier 4 or Student visa, applying for assistance from the hardship fund will not affect your visa or be reported to the Home Office. If your visa has a 'no recourse to public funds' condition on it, applying for/receiving assistance from the hardship fund is not a breach of this condition.

* Not be eligible for UK student maintenance funding on residency grounds

**Students sponsored by the University of Leeds as Tier 4 students will not be eligible for assistance from the Fund if their Tier 4 Sponsorship is temporarily or permanently withdrawn.  Any student needing immigration permission to be in the UK will not be eligible if that permission expires or is curtailed by the UK Home Office.


General conditions of the ILHF

The following are general conditions of the International Leeds Hardship Fund, which all applicants need to be aware of:

  • The ILHF is specifically to help towards living costs.  Tuition or examination fees will not be taken into consideration when assessing your financial need.
  • The fund cannot be used to pay your tuition fee.
  • The Fund cannot not be used as a main source of funding. 
  • Money in a savings account(s) will be included as available funds even if you had planned to use it for a specific purpose.
  • You will need to show that you had sufficient living costs and tuition fee funding in place:

               o    to complete the course at the start of your study, 
               o    at the start of the current academic year.

  • You must be able to show that you are facing an unexpected financial crisis that you could not have foreseen. 
  • The Fund is intended primarily to assist applicants personally, so you are expected to have in place sufficient funding for any dependants.
  • You must have accessed all other available sources of funding before applying to the Fund

How to apply

Step 1: 

  • Request an application form by emailing the Funding team. 
  • Please include your name and student ID in the email. 
  • If you are eligible to apply, you will be sent an application form by return email, along with further instructions.

Step 2: 

  • Send the completed application together with the scanned evidence (see Evidence required) by email to LUU Advice.  
  • In the subject line of the email Type ‘ILHF Application [and your student ID]’ (e.g. ILHF Application 123456789).
  • A LUU advisor will review your application and to make sure it meets the ILHF eligibility criteria.

Step 3. 

  • LUU Help & Support will send your completed ILHF application to the University’s Funding team to be assessed.


Evidence Required

  • 3 months’ bank statements for you and your partner (if applicable).
  • Evidence of how you were going to fund your course 

               o    at the start of your study,
               o    at the start of the academic year.

  • Evidence of all income/savings/wages/benefits - including three most recent payslips for you and/or your partner (if applicable).
  • Rent or mortgage contract
  • Evidence of essential expenditure e.g. housing, childcare

Please contact the Funding team or LUU Help & Support if you have questions about the evidence required.

When to Apply

You can apply at any time in the academic year, but no later than the last day of your personal academic year.

If your course has a long summer vacation you are expected to personally fund the vacation period and this will not be included in the standard assessment period. If you are unable to work during the vacation period, for example due to illness, we may be able to accept an application during this time.

If there is a further significant change in your financial circumstances in the same academic year, you can ask for your application to be reassessed, though you may need to provide further evidence.

How are you Assessed?

All applications to the International Leeds Hardship Fund will be assessed impartially according to University procedures and by an experienced member of the Student Funding Team.

In simple terms the ILHF assessment will calculate your expected income (and that of your partner/spouse if applicable) and compare it against the total of your expected expenditure.

This will determine whether or not you had made adequate financial provision for living costs and tuition fees costs, regardless of your current circumstances.

Useful information about the ILHF assessment


  • The ILHF is a means-tested assessment so an award is not guaranteed.
  • If the assessment finds that you did not have sufficient funds at the start, your application may be unsuccessful.  
  • If the assessment finds you started with sufficient funds, you will need to show a change in your finances that could not have been foreseen to be considered for an ILHF award. 
  • If there is an acceptable change in financial circumstances, an income and expenditure assessment will determine how much funding you need.
  • The assessment period will cover the date the completed application is received, until the end of your own personal academic year.


  • Please include on the application form any bursaries and scholarships, financial contributions from family or other sources and earnings from paid work.
  • The Funding team will include any money in bank accounts and savings accounts when assessing your financial need.


  • A set amount, based on UK state benefit rates, is applied for general living costs: for example, food, gas, electricity, water, contents insurance, clothes, TV licence, entertainment, and gym membership.  This is known as the Composite Living Cost.
  • A capped amount is included for course-related costs such as books, printing, study materials and field trips.
  • Course-related travel and childcare costs are included separately if applicable.
  • Rental/housing costs are capped at a rate above the average student rent for Leeds.
  • Evidenced costs associated with specific learning disability diagnostic test costs will be included as a distinct cost within the overall assessment.
  • Please include on the application form any other expenditure you consider essential.

If the Funding team requires further information and evidence they will contact you at your University email address, so please check your email to ensure your assessment is not delayed.

The Assessment Outcome

Your application will be assessed within four working weeks of the date you submit your completed application. 

The Funding Team will contact you by email once the outcome on your application assessment is known. 

If you receive an award you will need to provide bank account details in order to receive the payment.

If you do not receive an award a brief explanation will be provided within the email from the Funding Team.  You will also receive information about the Appeal Process.

The Appeal Process

You can appeal your decision by outlining the reason in writing and emailing the International Leeds Hardship Fund Appeals Panel.

Appeals must be submitted within one calendar month of the date of your decision letter or before the date you cease being a student (e.g. permanently withdraw, excluded) if this occurs within the one calendar month period.