A new COVID-19 Hardship Fund (CHF) will be launched in Michaelmas term, replacing the Emergency Assistance Fund (EAF) which operated earlier this year. The scheme will support returning undergraduate and postgraduate students, of all fee statuses, if they are facing financial difficulty as a result of COVID-19. This includes support for self-funded and externally funded PGR students whose research projects have been disrupted (PGR students funded by Oxford scholarships and studentships should apply instead to the Covid-19 Scholarship Extension Fund previously announced). The level of hardship assistance provided by CHF will depend on an individual assessment of a student’s needs and circumstances, with maximum grants of £5,000 available.
In light of the experience gained from running the EAF during Trinity term, colleges will have delegated authority to assess CHF applications, and to approve and disburse grants from the Fund in parallel with existing college processes for the allocation of financial support. Students will therefore apply to their college to be assessed for financial support, with the funding provided by the University.
Amongst students starting a course in Michaelmas term 2020, only Home undergraduates will be eligible to apply; this policy will be revisited in Hilary term. Detailed guidance about the scheme will be provided to college hardship officers in September and the new fund will be launched in time for the start of Michaelmas. Full details will be communicated to staff and students shortly before the scheme launches.