Hardship Fund

The Hardship Fund is an emergency fund to help students facing financial difficulties. Find out what the criteria are and how to apply.


Until further notice, Student Advisers will not be conducting face-to-face meetings. Instead we will be organising video meetings via Zoom.

Contact student-hardship@vuw.ac.nz if you are experiencing additional financial hardship due to

  • self-isolating
  • caring for dependants
  • a change to your employment situation
  • additional costs incurred by studying off campus
  • increased living costs such as power.

Most currently enrolled students who are in financial hardship are eligible to apply for help from the Hardship Fund, including international students. Each year we have around $500,000 in funds to distribute. We are already seeing an increase in applications from students, and are putting plans in place to increase resourcing, so if you are facing hardship as a result of COVID-19, please ask for help.

During the period of lockdown, hardship payments will be made via direct credit twice weekly.

If you are unable to study from home because you do not have access to a computer, specific software or a wifi connection, register with the call centre: info@vuw.ac.nz.

What it can help with

The Hardship Fund can help with a range of issues, including:

  • necessary medical, dental, or optical costs
  • unforeseen flatting or family problems
  • exceptionally high course-related costs, including Architecture and Design project materials
  • high transport costs
  • a disability or temporary illness that prevents part-time or holiday employment
  • costs related to teaching experience placements
  • costs associated with sexuality and gender identity for LGBTQIA+ students
  • other financial problems which adversely affect study.

Along with grants, we can provide loans to students having cash flow problems. For example, you might be waiting for a scholarship payment, a research grant, or an international bank transfer.

How to apply

To apply for a grant or loan from the Hardship Fund, make an appointment with a student finance adviser. Set aside about 30 to 45 minutes. The adviser will discuss your circumstances and help you complete the application form. This includes a budget that shows your current income and essential expenses.

You will need to bring some documents with you, including:

  • Your application form.
  • A recent bank statement or internet banking printout—this should show at least 2 weeks’ transactions. All account balances should be shown.
  • MyStudylink account printout confirming course-related costs claim.
  • If applying for help with:
    • A particular bill (e.g., power, phone), bring the bill.
    • Assistance with textbooks, bring a quote.
    • Dental work or glasses, bring a quote.
    • Bond and/or advance rent, bring the lease agreement.
    • Architecture and Design Project costs greater than $100, bring this form completed and signed off by the course coordinator.

Before applying, you should have already used all of your entitlements under the Student Loan scheme.

Applications are submitted every Wednesday morning to the Hardship Committee. Applicants will be advised of the committee’s decision by 2 pm that day. This committee consists of staff and student representatives. Applications are confidential, and the committee is not informed of the student’s identity.