Financial assistance

We know that being a student can be financially challenging, and that the COVID-19 pandemic has compounded the issue for some.

If you are currently experiencing temporary financial difficulty – for example, if you're careful with your money but find it difficult to afford to eat three meals a day and pay for rent and electricity – you might be eligible for financial support. Specific eligibility criteria apply, but you can find more information in the tabs below.

If your situation qualifies for help, don't try to 'tough it out' or assume that someone else needs the support more – these services are there for you

Note that if you are having technology or internet issues, there is separate funding available for that as well. You can find more information on the COVID-19 FAQ page.

Financial support options

 

If you are a domestic or international student experiencing financial difficulties because of COVID-19, you may be eligible for financial support. For example, it could be that you face:

  • reduced hours of part time work
  • total loss of part time work
  • loss of financial support that was being provided by your family
  • inability to pay utility bills or cover grocery expenses
  • issues in covering rent/hall accommodation fees

COVID-19 Related Hardship Grant (domestic students and international PhD students)

The University of Canterbury has funding from the New Zealand Government to support domestic students who experience temporary financial hardship for reasons relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. The intention of the funding is to help learners continue on with their studies. Applicants must be fully enrolled at UC, prove that their financial difficulties are the result of COVID-19, and demonstrate their willingness and ability to complete their studies.

 

Students may be eligible to receive support up to $2,000 if they have no dependents, and up to $4,000 if they have dependents. The actual value will depend on the person's financial circumstances. To make an inquiry, contact the UCSA Advocacy and Welfare team or Te Waka Pākākano Māori, Pacific and Rainbow advisors. 

Kopa Iti (self-funded PhD students)

The Kopa Iti Grant is for self-funded UC doctoral candidates to assist if they experience considerable and unexpected financial hardship due to COVID-19. Please note: if you're a PhD student who isn't self-funded - for example, you receive a stipend greater than $5,000 annually - you may still be eligible for financial support through the COVID-19 Related Hardship Grant above.

 

The name Kopa Iti gives reference to an ancestor from Kāti Wairaki named Raureka who travelled from Te Tai Poutini (the West Coast) via the Nōti Raureka (Browning Pass) with her kopa iti (small purse) containing a prized pounamu toki (adze). On arrival to the Arowhenua region she was met and cared for by a party of Kāi Tūhaitara to whom she demonstrated the superiority of her sharpened pounamu toki.  More importantly, she revealed the route she had taken and provoked further exploration of the foothill and the route itself. Raureka is attributed to the introduction of pounamu to the East Coast Kāi Tahu, Kāti Māmoe and Waitaha people.

 

As a financial support option the Kopa Iti Grant is aimed at providing short-term emergency support only when all other financial options have been exhausted. 

 

The Grant may be paid directly to the landlord, medical provider, repairperson (etc.) that the applicant needs to pay, or it could be paid directly to the applicant’s bank account, depending on the circumstances. If successful, students may be eligible for up to $4,000 total provided over 8 weeks.

 

For more information on this and the application process, contact the UCSA Advocacy and Welfare team

 

International Student Welfare Fund (international students)

The International Student Welfare Fund was established to provide financial assistance to students facing an unplanned or unforeseen financial crisis. For more information, click on the tab for the fund above. 

StudyLink

StudyLink can help with urgent costs like car repairs, dental treatment, Whiteware (fridge, freezer, etc) and food grants. If you are struggling to pay an outstanding electricity, gas or water bill, for example, StudyLink may be able to pay up to $200 towards it, provided that certain criteria around income and assets are met. You can find out more about payments towards utility bills by StudyLink on this webpage

 

UCSA Hardship Grant

If you're experiencing temporary financial hardship because something unforeseen or unexpected has happened, and you've exhausted your options for finding a means of payment, the Hardship Grant might be able to help you.

The maximum grant to any one student should not exceed $800, and can be accessed by both domestic and international students. A set of eligibility criteria apply, including:

  • You must have less than $1000 in all of your bank accounts at the date of application
  • You must be able to demonstrate that you are willing and able to complete your studies and graduate from UC
  • You must have exhausted all other practical possible sources of assistance before making an application

Please contact the UCSA Advocacy and Welfare team to discuss the full eligibility criteria and the process to make an application. 

 

International Student Welfare Fund

The International Student Welfare Fund was established to provide financial assistance to students facing an unplanned or unforeseen financial crisis. Examples of what a financial crisis could look like include the following:

  • unanticipated medical expenses
  • death of a close family member who was previously providing financial support
  • unexpected loss of employment or scholarship

While UC wishes to support international students, those applying to this fund must remain aware of their individual financial responsibilities attached to the issue of their student visa.

The fund is managed by the Student Care team, but students are referred there by the UCSA Advocacy and Welfare team in the event that they meet the criteria. 

 

Mickle Fund Grant

If your financial circumstances are making it difficult to study then there may be a grant available to you.

The Doctor AFJ Mickle Fund was established by his widow on her death in 1937 as a “Special Trust fund… for the purpose of assisting any deserving students”, and it’s still going today.

Grants of up to $2,000 are available to support you in completing your studies while at UC. The grant amount provided will reflect your financial circumstances. 

Interested students should contact the UCSA Advocacy and Welfare team or Te Waka Pākākāno (see Māori, Pacific and Rainbow advisors) to arrange an appointment.

 

Foodbank

Enrolled students at UC are eligible to apply for use of the UCSA Foodbank once a term. If approved, students are provided with $30 New World vouchers and a collection of non-perishable items that are kept in stock. The vouchers cannot be used on alcohol, cigarettes or phone cards.

To enquire about Foodbank, please contact the UCSA Advocacy and Welfare team.

Food Support Service

If longer term food support is needed, you may be eligible to receive support from the UCSA Food Support Service, which provides students with up to a maximum of 10 monthly food parcels.

As before, please contact the UCSA Advocacy and Welfare team if you're interested in finding out more. 

 

Accommodation

Emergency Accommodation – If you need emergency short-term accommodation, there are people you can talk to and places you can go.

Advice

Citizens Advice Bureau – A free advisory service with financial support information and budgeting and debt advice.

Budgeting

Christchurch Budget Service – Free money management programmes

FinCap – A network of free, confidential and non-judgemental budgeting services. Freephone 0508 283 438 (0508 BUDGETLINE), Monday to Friday 8:00 am to 4:30 pm

Sorted - Online advice and budgeting templates

Food related

0800 Hungry – Food parcels delivered to your house

General

City Mission – The Christchurch City Mission is a social service agency that can provide immediate support, including emergency food for those in need, budget advice and advocacy, and free emergency short-term accommodation.

Salvation Army – Can provide accommodation support for a range of situations, and welfare support in the form of counselling and assistance with food, furniture and clothing.

Study link – You may qualify for a loan or allowance from Studylink, including assistance with urgent costs towards your bond, rent, car, food, bills and more.

Jobs

UC Careers – If you need a job to help fund your study, talk to careers for help on job searching, CV’s and interview prep.

Student Job Search – Don’t know where to look to find a job? Check out Student Job Search.

Scholarships

UC Scholarships – If you’re looking for ways to fund your university study, be sure to check out the scholarships, grants and awards available.

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