Learning and Teaching Strategy update 2008 - DOC

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					                 Learning and Teaching Strategy update 2008

Name of Service: Registry
Contact name and email address: David Martin (d.martin@admin.gla.ac.uk)
Title of case study: Hardship Funds
Keywords: support, retention, student financial aid
Two of the sources of financial help for students are the HEI Hardship Fund and the
Student Hardship Fund. In 2007-08, steps were taken to change the way these
funds were administered in order better to help students facing difficulties.
1. HEI Hardship Fund – Priority cases apart (namely students with children and
mature students), money from the HEI Hardship Fund was distributed in response to
applications submitted by students before the Christmas holiday with cheques being
made available to all students 2-3 weeks before the Easter break. Most of the
payments from this fund are provided to assist students with accommodation costs.
Making awards after all forms had been processed allowed the funds to be
distributed by calculating a precise level of accommodation subsidy which would
spend the money available, without causing an overshoot. Experience of operating
the fund over a number of years allowed Registry Financial Aid staff to make a
reasonable guess as to a level of subsidy which could be provided from the start of
session and applied throughout the session, without running the Fund into the red.
2. Student Hardship Fund – The vast majority of students registered at the University
are eligible to apply for assistance from the Student Hardship Fund if they find
themselves struggling financially. It had been standard practice to copy all application
forms and send these to two readers selected from the Hardship Committee who
would consider and discuss the applications and refer decisions back to financial aid
staff in the Registry. Following discussion in Committee it was agreed that Financial
Aid Staff could assess applications directly. Standard cases could be dealt with on
the basis of a review of their application forms and supporting paperwork, without the
need for an interview (senior students (not first year students), seeking relatively
small awards from the fund (£600 or less), who had a supportive reference from their
Adviser of Studies). Other students would be called for interview with members of the

1. HEI Hardship Fund – In session 2007-08, 808 students applied for assistance with
accommodation costs, with 406 of these applications being ‘late’ according to the old
deadline. Clearly large numbers of students have availed themselves of the relaxed
timetable for submitting applications. Most presumably would have hastened the
submission of their application but some would have lost out on support from this
fund. It is difficult to quantify the benefit to be attributed to this change, because it
was put in place at the same time as a significant alteration to the way that SAAS
disbursed student loan payments, from termly to monthly. It is impossible to
disentangle the effects of the two changes. However it is clearly the case that early
applicants will have benefited in that they will have received their award in three
weeks rather than three months. Late applicants will have benefited, since they will
not have been excluded from an award from the Fund. There has been a noticeable
decline in the number of requests for crisis loans in the course of this session.
2. Student Hardship Fund – Under the old regime the process of copying forms,
posting them out, allowing time for consideration and discussion and then posting the
forms back could take a month, and it was only after this that interviews could be
arranged or cheques ordered. The new arrangements allow applications to be dealt
with, from the time of receiving the form and supporting documentation to making a
cheque available to the student, in two weeks for straightforward students, or three
weeks if an interview was required. Given that students receiving support from the
hardship fund have established that they are experiencing financial difficulty, the
change in working procedures has provided a clear benefit to those seeking

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