Student life

Cost of living support

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Supporting our students through the cost of living crisis

We know that times are tough for everyone with the ongoing cost of living crisis, and whilst we can't help the wider economic problems, we can help our students through this financially challenging time. Working together with our Students' Union we have come up with a package of support to help our students. After all, the Essex family is at its strongest in times of adversity.

10 ways we're helping our students...

1. Increased Hardship Fund to £1.5 million

Our Hardship Fund is designed to help Essex students who are experiencing financial difficulty by giving non-repayable grants to those who need it. Last year the fund provided students with £489,000, this year we've expanded the funding to £1.5million.

You can apply multiple times over the year to a maximum of £1,500 a year per student. We believe that financial background should never be a barrier to a university education so please, if you feel you would benefit from our Hardship Fund, find out more here

2. Hardship Fund eligibility expanded

In addition to increasing money available through our Hardship Fund we've also streamlined the application process and expanded what the fund covers to include:

  • Food 
  • Travel  
  • Course costs
  • Childcare 
  • Accommodation
  • Energy costs
  • IT equipment
  • Sports and society memberships

If you'd like to learn more about our Hardship Fund, find out more here

3. Students paid the voluntary living wage

From January 2023 we are very proud to pay at least the Voluntary Living Wage for all students working for Essex or the SU. Our students are adding to their work experience and increasing their employability whilst being paid a fair wage for their time.

Learn more about student job opportunities.

4. Increased job opportunities for students

We've expanded our student employment opportunities in response to the cost of living crisis, increasing the number of hours of work available to students in Colchester and Southend. Combined with the SU, we employ over 1,000 students across our campuses in roles such as Student Ambassadors, Frontrunners and Accommodation Representatives, as well as shop assistants, catering staff and so much more!

Learn more about student job opportunities.

5. Travel bursary to make visiting campus easier 

We’ve made visiting our campus for a Mini-Open Day or Applicant Day that much easier, by increasing the cap for claiming travel expenses to £150 and expanding the number of forms of transport it applies to. Visiting campus is a fantastic way to learn more about the Essex experience, so we would love to see you at one of our upcoming events!

6. £2 hot meals

Nobody should have to choose between a warm home and a hot meal, so we're offering a range of £2 food options available at Essex Food outlets across campus. From a classic English fry up to jacket potatoes, burritos, burgers and more, there's a range of meals available throughout the week. Bonus points for the washing up it saves too!

Check out a sample £2 menu.

7. Bills included in rent charges

Accommodation costs at Essex include your energy bills and internet access so regardless what happens to supplier costs, you can rest assured you'll be fine with Essex. Plus, with guaranteed on-campus accommodation for all first years you can save on travel costs by walking to lectures and classes! 

Find out more about accommodation and living on campus.

8. Free activities and Eat & Meet events

In challenging times we need to come together, and cost should never be barrier to friendship. So our SU are hosting a range of free events and activities such as arts and crafts and cinema screenings. They're even hosting twice weekly Eat & Meet events, where free food is offered in a warm space; friends and food somewhere cosy - what could be better!

Read more about upcoming SU events.

9. Reduced food costs

The Students' Union has launched its SU Basics range. By buying in bulk they are able to pass the savings on to you, our students. So every Monday they host a pop-up market selling everyday groceries for less. We can't promise they'll have all your favourite snacks but it's a good place to start, right? 

10. Removal of resit fees

For students requiring a compulsory reassessment we have removed the resit fee, ensuring that your financial situation won't hold you back from progressing with us.