If you experience financial difficulties whilst at Cambridge there is plenty of help available from colleges, the University and the government. The first point of contact if you are experiencing difficulties should be your College Tutor. If they are busy or unhelpful you can request to see a different tutor or alternatively contact the Student Advice Service. Some colleges have a Student Finance Officer who can help students discuss their financial situation and explore options available to them.

Eligibility for sources of financial support vary - some are available to only undergraduates or postgraduates, whilst others are potentially open to all students.


  1. All Students
  2. Undergraduates
  3. Postgraduates
  4. Saving Tips


For general information about student loans and other financial support, please see the Funding page on the University’s website.

Depending on your course and other criteria, your College might have its own scholarships or funding awards. You might be able to find this information by contacting the Tutorial Office or the Student Finance Officer in your College. Sometimes, this information might be available on the College’s website. Here you can access details of all colleges at the University of Cambridge.

Other funding options

The Scholarship Hub

Gilchrist Educational Fund

Turn2Us Grants Search


Crane’s Charity is a fund available to students at the University of Cambridge who need treatment for physical or mental illness, which cannot be obtained under the NHS.

Examples of when funding might be provided include:

• Recommended specialist mental health treatment (eg services not provided by the Collegiate University such as EMDR therapy)

• Medical treatment related to physical health

Applications should be made before the treatment has started as retrospective applications are not considered.

Although it is recommended to discuss your financial situation with your College Tutor, you can apply yourself.

Intermitting students are also eligible to apply for financial support from Crane’s Fund.

For full details on eligibility criteria, how to apply and a copy of the application form, please follow the link provided above. You may also wish to access general information on eligibility principles and guidance on this link.

Loan Fund I

In exceptional circumstances, where all other options have been exhausted and depending on your individual situation, you might be able to apply for an interest-free loan from the Loan Fund I. Details of how to access the loan and a copy of the application form can be found on the link provided above. Applications should be submitted through the College using the form available on the link.


Disabled students are advised to register with the Accessibility and Disability Resource Centre (ADRC). The ADRC is the University’s accessibility and disability service, providing advice, information and support to disabled students. For more information on the types of support available and how to access it, please access this link.


The University has two childcare support funds to help eligible families with their childcare costs. To find out more about these funds, please visit the Childcare Office website. You can also contact the Childcare Office to speak to one of their Advisors or arrange an appointment. They can offer advice on any financial support that might be available to you, including government and University funding schemes.


Unfortunately, applications for the fund are temporarily closed due to a high volume of applicants. In the meantime please check out other sources of funding below:

The Cambridge SU has established the Gender Expression Fund, which aims to support students who require financial assistance to purchase items that help them feel more comfortable with their gender presentation, including (but not limited to) binders, packers, breast forms, and concealing underwear. There is a £50 cap on the amount of funding each student can receive within an academic year. Details on eligibility and how to apply can be accessed here.

Some colleges also have a gender expression fund dedicated to reimbursing students who purchase items to make them more comfortable with their gender presentation. If you cannot find details of a fund on your College’s website, speak with a Tutor, J/MCR Officer or one of our Advisors.


In the first instance, the University’s Fees and Funding page is the place to look for options for funding for your course.

Some colleges offer financial support for expenses such as books, software and travel. You may be able to find this information on the College’s website or in the College’s Student Handbook. You may also wish to consider speaking to your College Tutor, Supervisor or departmental administrator about possible financial support towards your expenses, in support of your research.

The ADRC has funding available for disabled students who require additional support as part of their academic support. More information can be found on the ADRC’s website.


It may be that, at some point during your studies, you might find yourself in financial difficulties which have arisen as a result of unexpected or sudden changes in your circumstances. In this case, you can discuss your situation with a variety of people from both the College community and the University. In College, you can access support from your Tutor, Senior Tutor and, in some colleges, a Student Finance Officer or equivalent. You can also speak with an Advisor at the Student Advice Service who can help you explore options that might be available to you.

In addition to any financial hardship support the University can offer, some students may be eligible for extra help from the government. You can find information about any financial support you may be eligible for from the government in the Student Finance section on their website.



Hardship funding for undergraduate students is provided by the Bell, Abbott, and Barnes Funds, which provides grants of up to £2500 per year. Applications may be made at any time during the academic year between 3 October 2023 and 31 August 2024. Although you can apply yourself, the University suggests that you discuss your circumstances and the application with your Tutor before applying.

Financial assistance is also available for undergraduate students studying on a Year Abroad who have not received funding from the Turing scheme or equivalent University funding. You are also expected to check if you are eligible for a travel grant.

For full details on eligibility criteria, how to apply and a copy of the application form, please follow the link provided above.

You may also wish to access general information on eligibility principles and guidance on this link.


If you are a student who is a care leaver, independent or estranged from your biological or adoptive parents, you may be eligible to apply for Estrangement Status with Student Finance in England, Wales or Scotland. The process for making applications for estrangement status, including further information on eligibility and evidence requirements, can be found in the Stand Alone Student Finance Guide. This guide was created in partnership with Student Loans Company ltd and Student Awards Agency Scotland.

UCAS also provides a list of organisations and charities that support estranged and independent students, covering all aspects of welfare and finance. This list can be found on this link.

If you have been assessed as independent by the funding agency, you are entitled to the higher rate of Cambridge Bursary. More information can be accessed here.

Care leavers will receive the Education Premium of £1000 per year in addition to the enhanced payment from the Cambridge Bursary. Care leavers are prioritised for one of the donor-funded Reuben awards of £1,750 per year for three years.  That means in total care leavers will receive a non-repayable bursary of £8,350 per year. £525 of the enhanced award will be paid before the start of the first term to help you with the costs of coming to Cambridge. The University will contact you to arrange this.

Further details can be accessed on the link provided above.


If you are intermitting and find yourself in financial hardship, you can apply for funds from the Realise Financial Assistance Fund. This fund is available to the following group of students:

• Care experienced and estranged students

• Refugee, asylum seeker and forced migrant students 

• Young carer students

• Gypsy, Roma, traveller, showman and boater students

If you are thinking of suspending your studies due to compelling personal circumstances, such as ill-health or bereavement, the Student Finance England (SFE) will consider each case individually and ‘do what [they] can to help the student get funding for future study.’ Further information can be accessed here and here.

Funding for eligible undergraduate students is calculated as the length of the current course + one year. For example, if you started your course and intermitted your first year of study, when you resume study, you will be able to use the ‘+ one year’ to fund the academic year of your return from intermission. In some circumstances, a student might intermit their study twice. If that is the case and you need to access funding for a second time, you would have to meet the eligibility criteria for compelling personal reasons. You are expected to provide evidence of compelling personal reasons to SFE, which, depending on your circumstances, could include, for example, but not limited to: medical evidence from your GP, evidence from social services and evidence from the University and/or College.

If the reason for absence is ill-health, you may be eligible for financial support with living expenses for an extended period of up to 60 days. The University needs to notify SFE that you are intermitting for medical reasons. SFE has the discretion to determine that all or part of the grant or loan can be extended to students who are absent from the course for longer than 60 days when the reason is ill-health, or for reasons other than illness. Further information can be accessed here on pages 21 and 22 of the guide.

Intermitting students can access financial support with medical expenses through Crane's Charity.


Postgraduate-specific sources are listed below, but make sure to look at funding available in the All Students tab as well.

Postgraduate Funding Search

Postgraduate Search

Prospects Funding Postgraduate Study

It might be helpful for you to speak with your course Supervisor about possible funding sources from your department. Click here for a list of the departments at the University of Cambridge.


It may be that, at some point during your studies, you might find yourself in financial difficulties which have arisen as a result of unexpected or sudden changes in your circumstances. In this case, you can discuss your situation with a variety of people from both the College community and the University. In College, you can access support from your Tutor, Senior Tutor and, in some colleges, a Student Finance Officer or equivalent. You can also speak with an Advisor at the Student Advice Service who can help you explore options that might be available to you.

You might also find it helpful to speak with someone in your department, which could be, for example, an administrator or your Supervisor.



As a postgraduate student, the University expects that you will have budgeted for the duration of your studies; however, in circumstances where you find yourself in financial hardship as a result of unexpected changes in your financial situation, you might be able to access the University’s Postgraduate Hardship Fund. Although you can apply yourself, you are advised to discuss your concerns with your College Tutor, who should be able to advise you of the options available in your situation. You can also discuss your circumstances and explore your options with the Student Advice Service. The awards are normally no more than £2500. For full details on eligibility criteria, how to apply and a copy of the application form, please follow the link provided above.

You may also wish to access general information on eligibility principles and guidance on this link.


If you are intermitting or thinking about intermitting your studies, speak with your Research Funding Council (where applicable) about your situation, as there could be financial implications. Your funding agency might also be able to provide some financial assistance during your period of intermission.

It might also be worth discussing your situation with your College which might be able to provide some financial support during your period of intermission.


The Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding is free to access by using your University email address. To register online, please access this link.

You may also wish to discuss your funding needs with your funding agency where this is the case.

You might also wish to access the Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handbook 2023/24 where you can find information about what financial support might be available to you from the government. 


Being in charge of your finances has been shown to contribute positively to your general wellbeing. You can use tools such as a student budget calculator to check some of the costs you can expect when starting University and to help plan your budget for the term.

MoneySavingExpert has recently updated the Student Budgeting Planner article where you can learn more about knowing your budget to know what you can spend, practical tools and tips to plan your budget and how you could save money.


Create a weekly food budget and stick to it!

Having a weekly food budget can help you keep in control of your finances. Keeping to a budget means you are more likely to have money left over for other things, such as meals out with friends.

With even the cheapest meal deals set at around £3.50, this quickly adds up to £910 a year if you are buying one five times a week. This doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself, but plan this treat into your budget so you are less likely to overspend.

Plan your weekly meals

Planning your meals can help you avoid overspending on food that goes to waste. If you know what you are eating each day, this can help to reduce the amount you spend on takeaways and meals out.

There are plenty of cheap meal recipes online if you are stuck for ideas.

Think about where you shop

Often buying fresh fruits and vegetables at the market is cheaper than buying them in supermarkets or small local shops. Cambridge Market Square, located in the city centre, hosts traders daily from 10am to 4pm.  Big supermarkets are usually cheaper than smaller shops.

Go vegetarian for two nights

Eating meat every night can quickly add to the cost of your weekly shop. Plan for two (or more) ‘meat-free’ nights to reduce the total of your shop.

Don’t shop when you are hungry

Leave your shop until after a meal. You are more likely to splurge on snacks if you are shopping with an empty stomach, which means you are more likely to go over your budget.

Check what you already have at home and write a list from there

This will help you to avoid waste and doubling up on food you already have.

Freeze your groceries

Freeze anything that can be frozen. This will prolong the life of food and can save money in the long run. Meat can often have short shelf lives. Put your meat in the freezer and get it out to defrost on the day you plan to use it.

Get rewarded for shopping

If you shop in the same place, see if they have a loyalty point system. Some loyalty points can be redeemed for things like eating out.



Look for weekday deals

Going out for food or drinks during the week can be cheaper than at the weekend. Many bars and restaurants have deals on meals and drinks during the week. Check available deals in advance to make sure you know what to expect.

Re-create your favourite meals at home

Buying the ingredients to re-create your favourite meals at home is likely to be cheaper than eating out.

Take turns hosting

This is a great way to socialise and cut down on your spending. You could even organise your own ‘Come Dine with Me’ to spread the cost of meals among friends.

Ask for a doggy bag

If you do eat out, you can ask for a doggy bag to take home anything you didn’t eat. This can be lunch or dinner for the next day.

Find a free birthday meal!

Some restaurants offer free meals if it’s your birthday. Other stores also offer a variety of freebies and discounts on your birthday. It may mean subscribing to newsletters or loyalty cards to access these offers.

Take cash on a night out

When you’re having a good time, the last thing you are probably tracking is your spending. Take the amount of money you want to spend in cash then you can’t overspend.



Charity shops

Prices vary from shop to shop. You are more likely to get a good deal on clothes if they are pre-loved. You could also take advantage of apps selling pre-loved clothes to try and reduce your spend on clothes.  

Clothes swapping schemes

Look out for schemes available where people can swap clothes with others. This is something you could also organise with friends. You could refresh your wardrobe by swapping clothes or borrowing clothes from a friend.

Rent an outfit for a big event

Buying outfits for formal events can be expensive. You may even end up buying an outfit you wear only once. Look out for websites where you can rent formal wear and send it back when you have finished.

Student discounts

Some shops offer student discounts, and this is usually advertised. If it isn’t, it is worth asking the shop assistant as some may offer discounts. 




Cambridge is bike-friendly. To save money, you can consider buying a second-hand bike online or at a local shop. You can also rent electric bikes or scooters using the Voi app. Some colleges offer or loan students bikes for free or for a small fee. Ask your College if this is something they offer and how to access it. Check out our information on cycle safety here.


Walking is not only great for your budget, it is also great for your physical and mental wellbeing. Listen to your favourite music, a podcast or take a friend to chat to.


It can sometimes be more cost effective to pay for a bus pass upfront.

You can also buy discounted student passes for the year through the major bus providers in the Cambridgeshire area.




It’s usually cheaper to travel by bus than the train, although this could take longer. Booking tickets in advance could save you money. If you are aged 16-25, you could save 30% on train journeys by using a railcard. Check www.railcard.co.uk for available options. 



Having an emergency fund or savings in general can give you the peace of mind that you have a back up if you face any unexpected costs.

Skimming trick

Every time you have money paid into your account e.g. your bursary or student loan, skim 10% off the total and put it into savings before you start spending.

Try the 1p savings challenge

On day 1, put 1p into savings. On day 2 put 2p into savings and so on. By day 365, you should have £667.95 in savings.

Have a ‘no spend day’ each week (or two)

It can sometimes feel like your bank account is leaking money when you are spending every day. Plan to have one ‘no spend day’ a week to see how you can get by without spending. Maybe on that day you walk instead of taking a bus; eat leftovers from the night before for lunch or prepare a coffee for your walk instead of stopping at the local coffee shop. Having to think creatively about how to avoid spending might help to build healthier spending habits for the future.

‘Save the Change’

Some banks have ‘Save the Change’ schemes where the price of items you pay for are rounded up, with this value put into savings. This way you can add to your savings without having to think about it yourself.

Avoid credit cards

Credit cards may seem like a quick way to purchase things you want or need, but you may end up paying a lot more for the product in the end as interest is added.

Don’t impulse buy

Sometimes our spending habits are linked to the way we are feeling. You could try the 30-day saving rule. If you see something you want, wait 30 days before purchasing it. Even better, put the money you were going to spend on that item in savings. If you no longer want that item after 30 days, you’ve added to your savings!



You could consider getting a TOTUM card which delivers student discounts across many national and online brands to help you keep costs down on all of your student essentials.


You can visit these websites for some more money saving tips:

Money Saving Expert


Save the Student

Some other resources for students who need advice on how to manage their finances are:

Money Advice Service

National Debt Line

Step Change Debt Charity

Work Out Your Budget - this is a budgeting tool that could help you understand your income and your spending, and where you could cut costs.