Easing student hardships for a King’s education

The past few years have been incredibly tough for many people across our communities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and just as things have started to turn around, we’ve been thrown into the worst cost-of-living crisis since the early 1980s. The impact is being felt across society but as we so often see, it’s those from disadvantaged backgrounds that are being hit the hardest.

At King’s, we believe that lack of funding shouldn’t prevent talented students from receiving a first-class education; however, the reality is that thousands of King’s students are at risk of not continuing their studies due to financial hardship. The latest results from the National Student Money Survey 2022, conducted by the student money website, Save the Student, revealed that 82 per cent of students across the UK are struggling to make ends meet. The survey also found that 82 per cent of students had considered dropping out of university, with 52 per cent of this group saying it was due to money worries.

The rise in the cost of living, the shortfall in the amount of student maintenance loans available and the increased demand for scholarships and bursaries means the need to support students facing financial hardship has never been greater. Yet, the demand for hardship funding is soaring. A BBC investigation earlier this year found that the number of students asking for emergency cash nearly tripled between 2018–19 and 2020–21 at 95 UK universities.

Helping students when it matters the most

Thanks to the amazing generosity of so many of our alumni, we are able to help thousands of students each year. By providing financial support in the form of scholarships and bursaries, a student facing hardship has a chance to fulfil their education at King’s. The Student Hardship Fund provides vital financial support for students who are struggling with day-to-day living costs during their studies, such as paying for their rent, utility bills and travel.

  • Alex, a medical student, explains how receiving an award from the Student Hardship Fund allowed him to carry out the practical part of his degree:
    ‘Without any financial support from the Hardship Fund I wouldn’t have been able to afford accommodation in London or the transport costs to reach my placement every week. I’m beyond grateful that the generous donations provided to me in the last couple of years have allowed me to continue to pursue my goal of becoming a doctor. Thank you to all the kind alumni who have allowed me to keep following my dream.’
  • Support funding is a crucial resource for so many students and can be the difference between having the opportunity to study for a degree, or not. A mature learner who received an award tells us:
    ‘While restrictions and lockdowns have long been eased, the impact still reverberates now. As a mature student supporting a young family (I returned to education for career advancement), the rise in the cost of living is felt in many aspects of our personal lives.  Receiving an award from the Hardship Fund was a comforting relief. Had funding not been available, my studies would have been postponed again, pushing my expected graduation date even further. I’ve loved every moment of my education at King’s. The level of tuition and access to materials is the best I’ve ever experienced.’
  • International master’s student, Mariana, relays how she felt having received monies from a Hardship Fund:
    ‘When I found out that I was successful in my application, I was over the moon. I didn’t need to worry about money in my master’s year anymore… now I was able to enjoy my programme and learn everything I came here for. It was very special. I felt supported and valued by King’s as an international student.’

Making a King’s education possible

Giving students the opportunity to receive financial support year on year is reliant on regular funding, and it’s thanks to a special group of donors called the Kingsmakers who, in a very literal sense, make it possible.

Receiving an award from the Hardship Fund was a comforting relief. Had funding not been available, my studies would have been postponed again.


In the 2021–22 financial year, our Kingsmakers’ donations helped provide 708 students with Hardship Fund bursaries, with the average award being £1,717.

By making a regular donation, be it every month, every quarter or every year, the Kingsmakers’ contributions allow our teams to plan ahead to provide funding for scholarship and bursary programmes. A gift also supports the running of annual programmes such as the Civic Leadership Academy, which gives students the financial means to take up important work placements in civic society, giving them the skills and development opportunities to further their careers.

It also funds the K+ Start-Up Scholarships, which help students from non-selective schools settle into university life and purchase key materials, putting them on a level playing field with their peers when they join King’s.

Our powerful alumni community are helping drive change and provide life-changing opportunities for our students to receive a King’s education. It’s the regular donations from our alumni, supporters and donors that ensure that no talented young person misses out due to financial difficulty.