Emergency Money


Managing your money while at University can be hard, and sometimes financial hardship can be very hard to predict, and even harder to mitigate. If you are in urgent need of financial assistance you can consider the following options. Please note, these options are only short-term solutions. 


Financial Assistance 


If you are struggling with financial hardship while at University, you may be able to seek support from the University’s Financial Assistance Programme Award (FAPA).

What is FAPA?


FAPA is a limited resource available to students at Cardiff University who are eligible for, and in need of, financial assistance. 


It is only available to students who are not able to cover living essentials and is highly unlikely to be extended to students who are struggling to meet non-essential payments. These non-essential payments include, but may not be limited to, car payments, mobile phone contracts, holidays and financially supporting independent family members. 


When at University, there is some expectation that you will supplement your finances with savings, part-time work or financial support from family. It is also important that you manage your money effectively throughout. If you would like more advice on how to manage your money more effectively, please see our top tips.


How do I apply?


In order to receive financial support, you will need to make an application to Cardiff University’s Advice and Money Team in Student Support. 


Please note, if you are facing the same financial problems annually, you may need to repeat your application every academic year. Just because you have recieved the Award previously, does not guarantee you continued financial support throughout your degree. You can find out more about how to do this here.


Remember, this is not a long term fix. If you are concerned about your money management strategy, and you have had a look at our tips but would like more specialised advice, we would strongly advise you to contact the Advice and Money Team.


If you would like more information about the scheme specifically, please email fapa@cardiff.ac.uk.


Authorised Overdraft


An authorised overdraft is an arranged amount of credit that you can dip into when in an emergency. This means, that if you have no money in your account, you can continue to spend a money until you reach an agreed limit. However, you are likely to incur some additional charges e.g. interest.


Am I eligible for an overdraft?


Every financial institution is different. To find out if you are eligible for an overdraft you should speak to your bank or financial lender.


What do you mean by ‘authorised’?


An authorised overdraft has been agreed with your bank that you can over-draw by a certain amount of money.


If you do not have this agreement, but you are still overdrawn, this is called an unauthorised overdraft. This is a lot more expensive than an authorised overdraft and you are likely to be changed a much higher interest rate and daily fees.


What are some of the consequences of an arranged overdraft?


  • If you exceed your overdraft limit you are likely to incur additional charges;
  • The bank has the right to ask you for repayment at any time (but this is unlikely);
  • Your bank may take your overdraft away at very short notice, leaving you with no money.


Personal Bank Loans


A personal loan is borrowed money that can be used to mitigate financial hardship.


Why would I want a personal loan?


Personal loans may lend you a significant amount of money to help you mitigate your immediate financial hardship.


Usually, you can choose how long you would like to pay the loan back, and you can pay the loan back in fixed amounts. This may make it easier to budget.


If you are in a state of financial emergency, a personal loan may help get your finances back on track, but this decision should not be made lightly, and any decision to take out a bank loan should be considered in great detail.


Before taking out a personal loan, we would strongly advise you to book an appointment with the lender, to ensure that you understand the terms of the loan, and how it might affect you in the long term. 


What questions should I ask before taking out a personal loan?


  1. What is the interest rate on my loan?

    When you take out a loan, the lender is likely to charge you for using their money. You repay this interest, in addition to the monthly loan repayment. 

    Interest rates usually vary between lenders, therefore you may want to enquire with different lenders, before deciding to commit to one.
  2. What is the Annual Percentage Rate (APR)?

    APR is an industry standard, that allows you to compare the borrowing costs from different providers.

    When you are comparing providers, it is advisable to compare APR as opposed to headline rates as this should uncover any hidden costs.
  3. How long do I have to pay back the loan?

    The longer you have to pay back the loan, the smaller the monthly payments may be – but be weary as your interest is likely to increase over a longer period of time.

    This may mean, generally longer loan repayments can equate to more than those incurred for shorter loan time frames. 
  4. How much will my monthly payment be?


How do I get a personal bank loan?


Application processes vary between banks and providers. To find out more you would need to seek guidance from a specific lender.


Every lender will check your credit reports and credit scores prior to offering you the loan. You may want to check your credit score beforehand too so there are no surprises. 


If you need advice and guidance on this, you may want to contact the Advice and Money team.


What if I can’t pay back my personal loan?


Some of the consequences of not paying back your loan could include:


  • Damaged credit score;
  • Correspondence from debt collectors
  • Legal action


If you pay late, or miss a payment, this can have a detrimental impact on your credit score. An example of a consequence here, is that you may be rejected from loan applications in the future, or increase the APR on any new loans significantly.


If you miss your loan payments, this becomes a debt. Your lender may move the loan balance to a collections department or a debt collector. These parties may try and recover the money from you and may take legal action to do so.


We strongly advise you only to commit to a bank loan if you fully understand the terms of the commitment, and if you are highly likely to be able to repay it.




You may be able to access emergency funding from charities across the UK whose charitable objectives may include educational attainment.


Often small charities have niche and specific target audiences - you may be able to find one that applies to you.


We cannot advise on which charities are specifically available for you, and the options available to you are likely to change day by day. We would advise you to undertake an online search to find out more.


To get you started in your search, why not take a look at this website


Student Advice

029 2078 1410