International 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.

Eligibility and residency criteria

As an international student applying to the FAF you must be:

•    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•    Not have had Tier 4 sponsorship or Student Visa withdrawn*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.

*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4 students will not be eligible for assistance from the Fund if their Tier 4 Sponsorship is temporarily or permanently withdrawn.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 Financial Assistance Fund

The following are general conditions International applicants need to be aware of:

•    The fund is specifically to help towards living costs incurred whilst studying in the UK.  Tuition or examination fees will not be taken into consideration when assessing your financial need.
•    All assessments will be in UK Sterling and international costs cannot be taken into consideration.
•    The fund cannot be used to pay your tuition fee or visa costs.
•    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.

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

Your finances are assessed in the first instance for the whole academic year, so you cannot apply to the Fund more than once in any 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.

How to apply

Step 1: 

Completing the online enquiry form
You will receive an email shortly after completing the form with a link to the online application.

Step 2: 

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.

Step 3:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 Financial Assistance Fund assessment


The FAF is a means-tested assessment so an award is not guaranteed.

You will need to show a change has occurred in your finances since the start of your academic year that could not have been foreseen to be considered for an FAF 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 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.