skip to content


The Staff Hardship Grant scheme is available to provide one-off non-repayable, taxable grants of up to £1250 to staff of the Academic University[1] who are facing exceptional or unexpected financial hardship as a result of a loss of their income, directly due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

Staff hardship grants are intended for current employees or workers of the Academic University who are facing exceptional or unexpected financial hardship as a result of a loss of their income directly due to the Coronavirus outbreak. The staff hardship grant fund is limited and therefore is intended to help only those who are facing genuine significant hardship. It is not available to employees that are eligible for the welfare loan scheme, or to staff whose earnings are above £50,000. Save in exceptional cases, it is not available to those staff who can access support from other statutory or charitable schemes. Staff of Colleges and other entities that are not within the Academic University are not eligible for this scheme and should contact their specific employer directly over hardship issues. Please note that grant payments are considered a taxable benefit and therefore will be subject to both income tax (at the applicant’s marginal tax rate) and National Insurance contributions. 

Applications will be reviewed by a newly established Staff Hardship Group. It is hoped that supporting statements from key Departmental contacts, i.e. those closest to the applicants, will provide additional oversight to identify those staff most in need. Applications should only be submitted with the support and endorsement of key Departmental contacts.

Application Information

  • Applicants should complete the application form and should then send to their Departmental Administrator.
  • Departmental Administrators must:
    • verify personal details (personal reference number, name, address, contact phone number) and employment/assignment details (employment history and length of contract);
    • consider the merits of the application in light of the purpose of the scheme and the limited budget for grants, in consultation with the applicant’s line manager or other appropriate individual where necessary; and
    • complete and countersign the application form to confirm that they have done the above actions and that they endorse the application.
  • Completed applications should be emailed by the Departmental Administrator to the Grant Administrator at
  • Applicants and Departmental Contacts should be aware of the critical timings (see below) of the application process.
  • If the grant application is agreed, the applicant will be notified of the anticipated grant payment date, with copy to the Departmental Contacts for reference.
  • It is expected that payments will be made to the bank account set up for the prior payment of their University salary or wages. The employee will need to provide the last 4 digits of their salary bank account number as a security check for Finance when processing the payment to ensure the funds are paid into the correct bank account.


Applications received by the Grant Administrator will be reviewed promptly, on a reasonable endeavours basis, by a newly established Staff Hardship Group on a case by case basis taking account of individual circumstances. Save in exceptional cases, grants will only be offered to those applicants who can demonstrate that they have been ineligible/unsuccessful for other forms of statutory or charitable support.

Please note that if applications are not completed fully, the Grant Administrator may need to request further information from either the applicant or the Departmental contacts, delaying consideration by the Staff Hardship Group.

Post approval, the University will use reasonable endeavours to pay grants via BACS on the following Monday (within normal application capacity). Payments will only be made through the bank account into which the applicant’s salary/wage is paid.

Questions for Departmental Administrator to consider when deciding whether to endorse an application:

The grant should only be requested in cases of personal hardship and should not be used to request reimbursement for costs generally covered by other University guidance e.g. via the expenses policy or the guidance for exceptional covid-19 related Departmental spending.

  • Does the applicant have an existing contract of employment or workers agreement? If not, they are not eligible for the scheme
  • Is the applicant eligible for the Employee Welfare Loan scheme i.e. do they have an employment contract which is valid for at least a further 12 months? If so, they should apply for a welfare loan.
  • Do you agree that the applicant is experiencing exceptional and/or unexpected financial hardship due to the Coronavirus outbreak? As you understand it - so related purely to COVID-19, and not to any other factor.
  • Do you agree that the applicant is ineligible or has been unsuccessful in obtaining any other forms of statutory, charitable of University support? Consider what evidence you have.
  • Are you aware of how the hardship funds will provide benefit to the individual need? Is it clear why the applicant requires these funds?
  • Are you satisfied that there is a good case for supporting this application, given the restricted availability of funds?

[1]  Academic University is defined as the core teaching and research activities of the University, including museums, but excluding Cambridge University Press, Cambridge Assessment, WNWCE Board, the Investment Office and all subsidiaries, trusts and joint ventures