- What is the Student Engagement Fund?
The Student Engagement Fund ('SEF') was established by the Widening Participation Team in collaboration with the Students’ Union and Sport St Mary’s. It is a fund designed to support St Mary’s students to engage with extracurricular activities, as well as to support some course-associated costs wherever students are faced with financial barriers. It has been set up to ensure cost is not a prohibitive factor when students wish to engage in additional and enriching opportunities and experiences provided by the University. In line with the University’s core values, the fund is in place to help ensure that St Mary’s is consistently and meaningfully inclusive for all our students.
The fund is in place to provide students with practical support to purchase or reimburse small items in order to increase their engagement with and enjoyment of University life. The fund typically supports bids up to £150, depending on eligibility and the application. In recognition of the fact that we may not always know our students’ specific needs, all applications are reviewed individually on a case by case basis.
Some examples of what the fund might cover include:
- Clubs and societies membership fees
- Gym membership
- DBS checks associated with a course
- Compulsory and supplementary course costs (e.g. course kit, various equipment, first aid training, etc.)
- Costs associated with a course trip
- Sporting equipment such as wearable technology, items needed to play sport (e.g. racket, rugby boots, etc.), digital tech watches, etc.
- Ticketed online university social events
- Discretionary/occasional/one-off/exceptional travel costs where appropriate
Please note: this list is neither exhaustive nor guaranteed and each application will be reviewed individually. The SEF is focused primarily on additional, rather than primary costs, and is separate from the Hardship Fund, which supports students in financial difficulty with their fundamental living expenses. To learn more about the Hardship Fund and/or require financial and budgeting guidance, please contact email@example.com.
2. Who is the SEF for?
The fund is open to all currently registered St Mary’s University students and is specifically in place for students who, for financial reasons, do not engage with additional opportunities on offer to them.
To make sure the fund goes to the people who need it most, we've set the following conditions:
- Students will have to demonstrate an economic need such as low household or personal income (we may check declared household income on registry information).
- Students who are already in receipt of a financial award (scholarship or bursary) from the university, might not be eligible for this scheme, except in exceptional circumstances.
It is only in exceptional circumstances that the following students will be considered:
* International students
* Students on a leave of absence from University
* Masters and PhD students
Please note: All students must have accessed all statutory support from the government if eligible, before applying to this fund.
3. How do I apply to the SEF?
To apply, students must complete an application form with a personal statement explaining their need for the fund. They will also need to sign to agree to terms and conditions. The link to the application form is below.
All questions and queries should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
4. How do you choose who gets a grant from the SEF?
This decision will be predominantly based on your personal statement, where you will be asked to describe clearly what you are requesting, why you need the financial support, and how this will meaningfully improve your student experience
We unfortunately cannot approve all requests we receive, so when selecting candidates, we prioritise certain groups of students when deciding how to allocate the funding. These include:
- Undergraduate students and students studying PGCE programmes
- Students engaging with the BUCS Active 4 programme
- Students who have not previously applied for the SEF
- Students with children (especially lone parents)
- Disabled students
- Care leavers, care experienced students or those otherwise estranged from their families
- Students who have not previously been members of any sport club or society at the Students’ Union.
5. How does the SEF work?
All applications are reviewed on a case by case basis and where requests are approved we work with students to support them as fully as we can. In some instances, the fund is used to purchase items on their behalf (e.g. membership fees, fitness items, etc.) but in others we will request receipts/proof of purchase and reimburse students directly for agreed expenses (in these instances, please get in touch at email@example.com to ensure expenses are agreed prior to purchase). Retrospective payments are only considered in exceptional categories.