This page includes details of the financial help available to students at Downing College, Cambridge.

Managing your finances

Great care in the management of personal finances is strongly urged. Most undergraduates complete their degrees without any undue financial hardship, but occasionally there are circumstances where a few find it hard to make ends meet.

The fees and charges page gives a general indication of the level of living expenses at Cambridge.

Meals and buttery charges are the main elements in a typical College bill that can be controlled by the individual. Meanwhile, the room rent and facilities charge are the main fixed costs.

It is important to be aware of the likely size of each Term’s College bill and to make sure you have sufficient funds to meet it when due. The College charges interest on overdue bills and the effective rate of interest (APR) is deliberately set above that on ordinary credit cards. No student should ever get into a position of having to pay interest.

If you find yourself in financial difficulty, you should consult your Tutor as soon as possible. If your Tutor is convinced that you are in genuine and unavoidable financial difficulty then a recommendation will be made to the College that interest charges be waived on the unpaid bill.

Your Tutor will also be able to give you advice about possible sources of additional finance; there are a number of funds to which those in financial difficulties may apply. Descriptions of available funds are given below.

UK public funding

If you are a home or EU undergraduate your eligibility will be assessed by either:

  • Student Finance England
  • Student Finance Wales
  • The Education and Library Board (ELB)
  • The Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS).

Student loans are paid by BACS into your bank account. In order for the first payment to be authorised, first year students must register with the Tutorial and Admissions Office on arrival. All other students must register with their Tutors.  Once you have registered, the Tutorial and Admissions Office will upload authorisation for payment to the Student Loan Company on a frequent basis

See the Government Student Finance website for full details of funding available.

A guide to NHS Student Bursaries and Bursary Calculators for Clinical Medicine students are available from the NHS Bursaries website.

Student Finance England’s new Postgraduate Loan application service is now available via their  website.  Students are encouraged to apply as early as possible to ensure your Postgraduate Loan is ready for the start of your course.  For further information on Postgraduate Loans, visit SFE’s student finance zone on The Student Room which has been updated with a dedicated Postgraduate Loan section and includes answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.

Cambridge funding search

Details of the various awards, scholarships, hardship funds and other student support funds available to students can be found in the Cambridge Funding Search.  This is an online directory of awards and funds administered by the University, including departments, faculties, central offices and other internal sponsors, and Colleges themselves.

Maintenance and hardship grants

University Funding

Bell, Abbott and Barnes Fund

The Bell, Abbott, and Barnes Fund provides assistance to undergraduate students (but not graduate students) in financial difficulties, particularly to those suffering unexpected hardship. They provide grants of £100 to £1,000, or up to £2,000 in exceptional circumstances, per annum. There is one application deadline in the middle of each term. Applicants should approach Tutors well in advance of this date, who can apply on their behalf.  If you are successful you will receive your grant towards the end of the term. More information can be found on the University website.

Cambridge Bursaries

The Cambridge Bursaries scheme has been developed to help Home and EU Undergraduate students meet their living costs. Individual bursaries vary according to each applicant’s Student Finance assessment. Each student who applies for a student loan is automatically considered for a Cambridge Bursary. There is no need to make a separate application. For full details see the Cambridge Bursary website.

Central Childcare Bursary Scheme

This scene offers financial support to student parents. Full details can be found on the University website.

Crane's Charity

Crane’s Charity exists to provide financial assistance to University junior members in residence who need treatment for physical or mental illness, or for injuries resulting from accidents, in cases where treatment cannot conveniently be obtained under the NHS. More information can be found on the University website but grants can help towards the cost of:

  • medical, surgical or psychiatric treatment
  • nursing home care
  • convalescent accommodation
  • travel.

Students with disabilities are generally expected to seek assistance through the Disability Resource Centre, which provides information about a range of support.

Downing College Funding

Downing Bursary

Downing Bursaries are available to Undergraduates who are experiencing unforeseen financial difficulties. It should be emphasised that payments will be made from the College Fund only after applications have been made to all other sources of funding for which you are eligible including:

  • the Student Loans Scheme
  • the Bell, Abbott and Barnes Funds.

Hardship grants may be awarded from any of the following funds:

  • Bradbrook (English)
  • Downing Student Support Fund (all subjects)
  • Fahrenwaldt (Mathematics)
  • Hopkins Parry (Law)
  • Jan Hruska (Sciences)
  • Saville (students from Q E Wakefield)
  • Schreiner (students from Eastbourne College).

Download an application form or pick one up from the carousel outside the Tutorial and Admissions Office.

Downing Graduate Hardship Fund

The Graduate Support Fund is available to Postgraduates who are encountering unforeseen financial difficulties and general hardship. Awards are granted in the range of £50 to £500. An average of £15,000 per year has been allocated over the past three years. Hardship grants may be awarded from any of the following funds:

  • Downing Graduate Support Fund
  • Alwyn Heong
  • Buchanan
  • Harris (Law)
  • Jan Hruska
  • Jean Ruhman (US students).

Download an application form or pick one up from the carousel outside the Tutorial and Admissions Office.

Ivor Evans Scholarship

The Ivor Evans Scholarship is awarded to undergraduates reading Economics from certain maintained schools in West Wales. In years where there are no eligible undergraduates in this category it is possible to widen the criteria to all subjects and the whole of Wales. The award is made automatically to eligible students by the Senior Tutor toward the middle of the Michaelmas Term.

Grants for books, materials, CULP Course, binding and printing

Downing Book Grants

Book Grants are available to Undergraduates and Postgraduates who require financial help to pay for books. Book Grants may be awarded from any of the following funds:

Battey (Medicine)
Charles Stanley Campbell (Natural Sciences)
Colin Hill (Classics)
E W Denham (English)
Fahrenwaldt (Mathematics)
Fu (Architecture)
Gamlingay (History and Theology)
Hopkins Parry (Law)
Liu (Medicine)
Skadden (Law)
Young (History and Theology).

You may apply for this grant at any time during the academic year with a final deadline of 12 MAY 2018. Download a Book Grant application form or pick one up from the carousel outside the Tutorial and Admissions Office.

Cambridge University Language Programme Grant

The College may grant up to half of the cost of a Cambridge University Language Programme course. Please note that these grants are made with the following conditions:

a) You must complete the course

b) You must pass the course

The College is sent details and pass marks for Downing students at the end of each course. Download a Cambridge Language Programme Grant application form or pick one up from the carousel outside the Tutorial and Admissions Office.

Downing Association Alumni Student Fund

This support fund, provided by alumni members of the Downing Association, is available to assist students with:

staying in College during vacations for study
attending conferences
traveling in connection with study
the purchase of books and other materials for their course

You may apply for this grant at any time during the academic year with a final deadline of 12 MAY 2018. Download an application form or pick one up from the carousel outside the Tutorial and Admissions Office.

Printing and Binding Costs

The Student Registry administers a Graduate Hardship Fund which graduate students can apply to for help towards the cost of printing and binding theses.  For eligibility criteria and guidance, please consult the Graduate Hardship Fund website before completing the online application form.  Please note, the next round of applications opens on 16 January 2018 and closes on 9 March 2018.

Vacation, study, travel and conferences

Downing College Undergraduate Vacation Study Grants

Grants from the University are sometimes available on application to relevant University Departments or Faculties to help with the costs of certain courses or field-work organised by Departments and Faculties, or with travel abroad which is deemed necessary for the particular University course being followed. The College also sets aside a sum to help Undergraduates who wish to travel in the United Kingdom or abroad for academic or academically related purposes. These grants can also be used to help with the costs of residence in College outside of NPR when this is required to prepare for a dissertation or for other academic purposes. For you to be eligible for support, your Director of Studies must approve such residence in advance. Awards are granted in the range of £50 to £700.

On the application form you must outline:

  • the purpose of the travel
  • the costs in full, including fares, board and lodging expenses
  • any money which it is hoped may be obtained from other sources.

There are no deadlines and travel grant applications may be submitted at any time.

It should be stressed that the Travel Funds available are limited and the purpose of the applicant’s journey will be considered most carefully. No junior member may expect to receive more than a contribution towards expenses, and all should try to ensure maximum financial support from other sources, particularly in the event of involvement in an ambitious and expensive expedition. Vacation Study Grants may be awarded from:

  • the Downing College Travel Fund (all subjects)
  • the Downing Association (all subjects)
  • Downing Support Endowment (all subjects)
  • Professor Audus (Plant Sciences)
  • Christopher Bartram (English)
  • Gary Blankenship (Architecture)
  • Hugh Brammer (Geography)
  • Cockerell (all subjects)
  • Gamlingay (History and Theology)
  • Jan Hruska (Sciences)
  • John Hawkins (Natural Sciences)
  • Hopkins Parry (Law)
  • Mays Wild (Natural Sciences)
  • Alfred Monk (English)
  • Richards (English and MML)
  • Whitworth (Geography)
  • Wicks (all subjects)
  • Bill Willetts (Natural Sciences)
  • Wyatt (English and MML)
  • Young (History and Theology) Funds.

Download an application form or pick one up from the carousel outside the Tutorial and Admissions Office.

Downing College graduate application for conference or travel expenses

The College provides funds for current postgraduate Downing students to help towards costs of research expenses such as fieldwork and travel to academic conferences. Awards are granted in the range of £50 to £700. Grants may be awarded from the following funds:

  • the Downing Association (all subjects)
  • the Downing Graduate Travel Fund (all subjects)
  • Downing Student Support Endowment (all subjects)
  • Christopher Bartram (English)
  • Alfred Monk (English)
  • Bill Willetts (Natural Sciences).

Download an application form or pick one up from the carousel outside the Tutorial and Admissions Office. There are no deadlines and applications may be made at any time.

John Butterfield Harvard Award

This fund was generously endowed by Lady Butterfield in memory of Lord Butterfield, former Master of Downing. The fund provides an annual sum of around £5,000, which will be available to support a member of Downing College attending a course at Harvard University. This course could be:

  • a summer school course
  • a course on the visiting student programme
  • a course on the masters’ or doctors’ programme
  • any other appropriate academic course.

Applications must be submitted online.  For further details, please view the award information.

John Maples America Fund Scholarship

This fund was generously endowed by Scott and Laura Malkin and Jane Maples in memory of Downing Alumnus Lord John Craddock Maples. The fund provides an annual sum of £5,000 to support the travel and maintenance costs for Downing students during a summer placement, internship (paid or unpaid) or other vacation study project in the US. The summer plan must be in the broad area of business, law, politics or international relations. Click here for more information.  Contact the Tutorial and Admissions Office for details of how to apply.

Oon Khye Beng Ch'hia Tsio Grants

Applications are invited from members of Downing College for small grants to assist research in any aspect of Preventive Medicine, interpreted in the broadest sense. Such research could be undertaken by clinical students during their period of elective study and some projects by Part II and Part III Biological Natural Scientists might also be eligible. Grants are normally of the order of a few hundred pounds. Please note, laboratory costs are not supported by this fund.  For further details, please view the grant information.