Home student assessment
The Financial Assistance Fund (FAF) is a university funded scheme for students/PGRs who are facing genuine or unexpected financial difficulties 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.
As a home student applying to the FAF you must:
- be registered on a higher education course at the University of Leeds (students who are suspended or taking all or part of the year externally can still apply)
- be either eligible to receive full maintenance and tuition fee support from the Student Loans Company, or hold a UK passport
- be charged the UK home tuition fee rate
- not be studying on a degree apprenticeship course
- have applied for, and received the first instalment of, statutory funding that you are entitled to, e.g. student loan or NHS bursary.
General conditions of the Financial Assistance Fund
The following are general conditions you need to be aware of:
- The fund 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.
- The maximum total that can be awarded in any one academic year is £4,500.
Postgraduates and undergraduates with previous study
You will need to show that you had sufficient living costs and tuition fee funding in place:
- to complete the course at the start of your study,
- 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.
You must have accessed all other available sources of funding before applying to the Fund
Suspended, temporary leave, and external students
If you are suspended from your course, taking temporary leave, or repeating as an external student, you may still apply to the FAF. You are expected to have applied for any other available funding, e.g. benefits.
We will apply a minimum notional income to your assessment. This notional income represents the amount of money you are expected to provide via earnings, savings, benefits, family contributions or any other source. If you are unable to work due to illness, or if you have dependants, no notional income will be applied, however the FAF cannot normally be your only, or main, source of funding.
Any award will be based on your financial need above the notional income only.
How to apply
Completing the online enquiry form.
You will receive an email shortly after completing the form with a link to the online application.
Complete the online application. If we require further evidence based on your responses then we will send you a link to a shorter form to allow you to upload additional evidence. Your application will be downloaded the next working day and checked by a member fo the Funding Team. If we have all of the information we need your application will be put in line for assessment. If we require anything further we will email you to let you know.
Your application will be reviewed by a trained assessor from our Funding Team and you will be notified of the outcome via email to your university email account. Assessments can take up to 4 weeks to complete from the point of submission depending on the time of year and the number of applications to assess.
Your application will require evidence to be submitted alongside it to be reviewed as part of the assessment. Generally this will include, but is not limited to:
- 3 months’ bank statements for you and your partner (if applicable).
- Evidence of any statutory funding you are in receipt of (e.g. student loans and/or NHS bursary)
- If you are a postgraduate or an undergraduate with previous study you will need to provide evidence of how you were going to fund your course
– at the start of your study,
– 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 if you have questions about the evidence required.
How are you assessed?
All applications to the Financial Assistance Fund will be assessed impartially according to University procedures and by an experienced member of the Student Funding Team.
First degree undergraduates
In simple terms the FAF assessment will calculate your expected income (and that of your partner/spouse if applicable) and compare it against the total of your expected expenditure.
If a shortfall in income is identified when compared to your expected expenditure then an award will be made to cover that shortfall.
Postgraduates and undergraduates with previous study
An initial assessment will be carried out to determine if you had made adequate provision* from the outset of your course and/or academic year to cover living and tuition costs.
If you have evidenced that you made adequate provision then the assessor will determine if there is sufficient evidence demonstrating there has been an unforeseen change* in your circumstances that has affected your financial provision.
If the assessor is able to determine that adequate provision has been made and an unforeseen change has occurred then an assessment of your current financial situation will take place to determine if an award can be made.
*You can find further details regarding adequate provision and unforeseen circumstances here.
Useful information about the FAF assessment
The FAF is a means-tested assessment so an award is not guaranteed.
The assessment period will cover the date the completed application is received, until the end of your own personal academic year.
You cannot apply for for financial assistance more than once in an academic year. You can, however, ask for a reassessment of your application if there has been a change in your financial circumstances. Some changes in circumstances will not make any difference to your application. You are advised to contact Funding to discuss whether you might be eligible for re-assessment.
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 appeals process
You can appeal your decision by outlining the reason in writing and emailing the Financial Assistance 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.
You can find the FAF regulations here: