Published: 01 June 2020

The transformational impact of the Emergency Student Support Appeal

Surrey alumni, supporters and friends have made a real difference by donating to our Emergency Student Support Appeal.

Student using computer

Launched in April, the appeal was created to provide funding to the most vulnerable students that were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. At the start of April, there were more than 1,000 students who were unable to leave campus because of the pandemic. Some students were unable to travel home due to restrictions on international flights, while many more lost their part time jobs and faced significant financial pressure from private rent and bills. 

We are so glad to be able to report that the response to this appeal from our alumni community has been remarkable, with the total amount of gifts received standing at just over £275,000 from 565 separate donations. 

How have your donations helped students?  

We talked to three students who have benefitted from the appeal to hear their stories, and the positive impact these donations have had on their lives.

Beth* is a Final Year International Tourism Management student who received support from the Emergency Appeal. Although she had a part-time job, the number of shifts she could work were cut as a result of the pandemic. Beth, concerned that she may not be able to pay her rent during this difficult time, asked for help from our hardship team. Thanks to the huge number of donations from our alumni, we could provide this support, ensuring Beth can concentrate on completing the final months of her degree.

“I would like to thank you so much for this support. I feel very fortunate that I have been given this opportunity. This support means that I can focus on my deadlines rather than worrying if I can pay my rent.” - Beth, International Tourism Management

Student using computer

George is a hard-working third year Veterinary Medicine student. Throughout his degree, George has worked as a Duty Manager at the campus club, Rubix, as well as participating in voluntary training to become a Police Officer with the London Metropolitan Police. However, as part of his degree, George is required to undertake regular industry placements. Many placements offer a low wage, or in some cases, are unpaid. This has not only made it difficult for George to juggle a part time job alongside his studies and placements, but also meant that he was facing significant financial pressure which ultimately began to affect his mental health. With the encouragement of a friend, he decided to seek support.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     “A donation to the Emergency Appeal really can make such a big difference both in terms of future and career options. It can help someone with their mental health and relieve them of financial worries, giving them time to focus on their degree. It really can make such a big difference. Thank you.” -George, Veterinary Medicine

George received a hardship grant, meaning he no longer needs to worry about how he will make his next rent payment or cover bills and is now able to concentrate on completing his Veterinary Medicine degree.

Image of George Clark
George: 3rd year Veterinary Medicine

We also spoke to Pamela, a first year Microbiology student. As Pamela is an international student, she is not eligible for a maintenance loan from Student Finance England. Throughout her first year, she worked in a restaurant at weekends and as a cleaner during the week, juggling two part-time jobs around her studies to support herself. As a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic, she lost her job at the restaurant and consequently, faced severe financial difficulties. She was also worried that she would be unable to fly home and as a result, would be isolated in England during the pandemic. Pamela received an emergency hardship grant, and recently told us how the money has changed her life, enabling her to complete the first year of her Microbiology degree.

“Thank you. Many students can’t finish their studies due to financial problems and they have the potential to do really good things. Without your help, I would have been alone in England worrying about money.”  - Pamela, Microbiology

Pamela: 1st year Microbiology

How do your donations make a difference?

The needs of individual students are different, but here's how your contributions can change lives:

  • £60 - the average cost of monthly utility bills
  • £150 - the average cost of monthly food bills
  • £550 - the average cost of private rent bills in Guildford

On behalf of all the students who have benefitted from this appeal, we want to thank all of our donors.

Unfortunately, we continue to hear of further hardship cases, you can still make a difference by donating online.

Thank you.




*Name changed to protect identity 

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