Last term saw nationwide escalating strike actionMathias Gjesdal Hammer

Pro-vice-chancellor for education, Professor Graham Virgo, has today announced the hardship funds to which deducted pay from last term’s industrial action will be allocated, and has suggested the possible creation of a new fund to aid intermitting students.

In April, the University announced that it had agreed “to allocate funds from docked pay to a variety of student hardship and support funds”, and in today’s email to all Cambridge students, Virgo detailed the updated plans, which were made following consultation both with University and College Union (UCU) members and with student representatives.

A “separate version” of the email was sent to University staff.

The money is to be split between seven existing hardship funds. The University has not provided detail on the amount of money which is to be allocated in total, nor as to whether the sum will be equally split among the various funds.

In full Which hardship funds will be supported?

The Disabled Students Bursary Fund

This provides help with urgent needs which cannot be funded through other channels, in “recognition of the additional support costs incurred by disabled students in pursuing their course of study”.

The Snehal Sidhu-Patrick Memorial Fund

Founded in the memory of former Law student Snehal Sidhu-Patrick, this fund assists with personal disability-related costs of wheelchair users.

The Charlie Bayne Travel Trust

Set up in memory of former student and enthusiastic traveller Charlie Bayne, this offers means-tested grants which enable disabled students to travel for educational purposes.

The Central Childcare Bursary Fund and the Childcare Support Fund

These offer needs-based support to assist student parents with childcare costs.

The Careers Service Internship Bursary Schemes

These provide additional financial support to enable undergraduate recipients of the Cambridge Bursary to undertake low-paid or unpaid work experience which will help further their career goals.

The Postgraduate Hardship Award Fund

This offers support to postgraduate students encountering “unforeseen financial difficulties”. Eligibility is soon to be widened to include first-year PhD students.

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Additionally, according to the email, “further discussion is ongoing” regarding support for programmes targeting forms of hardship which are not covered by existing funds, including “the establishment of a new fund for intermitting students”.

Earlier this year, a Varsity investigation revealed the financial struggles faced by many intermitting students, who are often unable to claim financial support due to inconsistencies between the policies of the Department for Work and Pensions and Student Finance England.


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The money for the hardship funds will come from pay docked following the recent staff strikes. Lent term saw 14 days of escalating industrial action by UCU members, triggered by a pensions reform proposal from Universities UK (UUK), which would have seen ‘defined benefit’ pension schemes replaced with ‘defined contribution’ pension schemes for incomes below £55,000.

When launching the industrial action, UCU had estimated that it would affect more than 1,000,000 students and result in the loss of 575,000 teaching hours nationwide.

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