piggy bank

15 May 2020

5 min read

Students are set to benefit from a contribution to the University Support Fund from Santander Universities

Santander, through Santander Universities, has supported higher education across the UK over the past decade with scholarships; student employability initiatives and funding to encourage innovation and promote entrepreneurial activity. With the current pandemic presenting many new challenges for students, universities and the local community, Santander is both repurposing and providing additional funding to ensure immediate support to alleviate health and educational challenges caused by the current COVID-19 crisis.

The University Support Fund gives grants to around 1000 students a year facing financial difficulties. The extra funding from Santander Universities means around 50 more students will benefit from financial support (based on the average award given).

This is even more important at a time when many students will be affected by the coronavirus pandemic - for example through having lost part time work or placements ending early. Some students without family networks or who are care leavers, who aren’t able to return home, have also had to pay for accommodation and other costs.

University staff have also chosen to make personal donations to the fund to help students in need.

The University's Student Finance Team offer students help and advice on money matters and access to hardship support.

Bernie Topham, Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, said: “We’ve seen a range of applications from students who are facing new financial difficulties, so this extra funding is welcome. Our thanks go to Santander and also the University staff who have contributed to the fund, meaning many more students can benefit. The summer can be a challenging time financially, so anyone who needs support should get in touch with our Student Finance Team.”

Matt Hutnell, Director, Santander Universities, said: “Santander is committed to supporting higher education as well as local communities across the UK so we’re pleased that our funding is able to be redirected to where it is most needed at this critical time. 

“Universities are doing some fantastic work to contribute to the UK’s effort to combat the outbreak of COVID-19, so we’re delighted to collaborate with our university partners in a way which increases their response effort and look forward to continuing to work with them on supporting both students and the broader higher education community with further initiatives over the coming months.”

Students who are facing financial hardship can apply by filling out an application form and supplying supporting evidence, or contacting the Student Finance team on studentfinance@port.ac.uk for more information.