ESSEX University is appealing for help from the public after a sharp spike in applications for financial support from disadvantaged students.

There have been 200 students apply for the the university’s Hardship Fund in the past three weeks, more than there would normally be over the space of a whole academic year.

As a result, the university has decided to suspend its Essex Change Makers appeal, which supports student projects at the uni, and instead raise money for those in immediate financial trouble.

Lynsey Dawson, head of philanthropy, said: “We have already put in place many measures to help our students at this challenging time and through this appeal we are asking Essex graduates and supporters of the university to also get involved.

“Our Hardship Fund is providing immediate help to those with unexpected financial problems, whether this is due to the loss of part-time work or a drop in family income, or because they need help to pay off debts or to cover the cost of rent or general living expenses.

“Donations will go directly and quickly to students in need, making their lives easier and allowing them to continue their education here at Essex.”

The Hardship Fund has been opened up for international and EU students for the first time, with £35,000 already having been distributed.

To donate or apply for support of up to £500, visit

The university has also launched a new survey exploring the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on people’s wellbeing and finances.

Participants in the Active Essex and State of Life backed research will be asked to take part in the five-minute, weekly survey so their changing responses can be matched to changes in the crisis.

Results will be compared with other areas across the UK.

To take part visit