Student Administration

Student Opportunity Fund

Information on the University's Student Opportunity Fund, which the University has established to support those students most impacted by the UCU industrial action that took place in November 2019 and February/March 2020.

Please be advised we are currently working on applications submitted by 22nd June. 

Further to the industrial action in both November 2019 and February/March 2020, the University has committed to investing the savings which accrued to the University from reduced salary costs to enhance the student experience. It will do this by: 

  • creating an Opportunity Fund which will make available grants to those students most impacted by the industrial action, who wish to pursue further learning opportunities at the University or elsewhere. The University will invest £1.4 million in this fund.   
  • putting an additional £350,000 into student hardship funds to support any student in financial need. 

Who will the Fund support?

The fund will support students most impacted by the industrial action. The University has defined this as undergraduate or postgraduate taught students who, as a result of the industrial action, lost 10% or more of their teaching during November 2019 and February/March 2020. 

How will the Fund operate?

The maximum grant payable per student from the fund will be £250.

The Student Opportunity Fund will accept applications from the most impacted students, as defined above, even if they have graduated from the University by the time they make their application.

The fund is now open for applications and will remain open until funds are exhausted or until the final deadline of 30th November 2020, whichever is sooner.  We have had a high interest in the Student Opportunity Fund with 2,200 applications being received by the 18th of June 2020. We aim to assess your application within 35 working days from receipt. We will contact you if your application is missing information and we require further context. Successful applications should receive payment within 10 working days of approving your claim. Payments will be made on a first come, first served basis to the most impacted students as defined above; it is therefore possible that the fund will be exhausted before all applicants have applied therefore it is in students’ interests to apply as early as possible.

In the event that the fund closes on 30th November 2020 and there are unspent funds remaining at that time, these will be transferred into student hardship funds for the benefit of the wider student community.

How do I apply to the Fund?

Students wishing to apply to the Opportunity Fund should submit their application here: http://edin.ac/student-opportunity-fund

There will be a maximum of one application and one payment per applicant, even if the application is for less than £250 in total.

In order to ensure that funding is directed to the most impacted students, applications will be considered against data that the University holds on the impact of the strike action. Where the University’s records suggest that the impact on an applicant was a loss of less than 10% of teaching, the University will contact the applicant and their School to clarify their situation further. If the University is unable to verify that an applicant lost more than 10% of their teaching time, the application will be refused.

The University will exercise judgement with regard to marginal applications, for example where the applicant appears to have lost close to 10% of teaching.

What kind of learning opportunities can I receive funding for?

The Student Opportunity Fund can be used to pay for learning opportunities of most kinds, including conferences, short courses, online courses and part-payment of longer or more expensive learning opportunities. As a result of Covid-19 and a reduction in events or conferences, the fund has been extended to allow for academic books or books linked to a learning opportunity. However the fund cannot be used to pay for degree programme tuition at the University of Edinburgh or another Higher Education institution. 

The University may wish to verify that any information provided in the application form is correct and truthful and that the learning opportunity applied for is provided by a bona fide organisation. Where details are not clear, for example, requiring translation, we ask you submit further details, which may delay your application.

Applicants can include the cost of travel and accommodation associated with their learning opportunity, as long as the total claim does not exceed £250. However claims that are purely for accommodation and travel will not be accepted.

Applicants do not need to have paid for the learning opportunity in advance in order to make a claim. Applicants can, however, claim for a learning opportunity that they have already paid for, as long as it does not start before 30th March 2020.

Applicants can include more than one learning opportunity in the application, however please note, the maximum grant payable per student from the fund will be £250.

The learning opportunity must be taken within 12 months from the 1st June 2020.

Here are the top learning opportunities that have been funded:

  1.  Short courses (non-credit bearing and with no formal degree/diploma/certificate qualification)
  2.  Online courses (non-credit bearing and with no formal degree/diploma/certificate qualification)
  3.  Language course
  4.  TEFL/TESOL/CELTA course
  5.  Conference
  6.  Tutor
  7.  Books of an academic nature/linked to learning opportunity
  8.  Continuing Professional Development course
  9.  First Aid qualification
  10.  Centre for Open Learning short course
  11.  Music lessons
  12.  Research/Virtual Internship

How will payments be made? 

All payments will be made in pounds sterling to the applicant’s nominated UK bank account. Payment cannot be made to third parties.

Applicants can claim for support with overseas learning opportunities, in which case the University will calculate the amount to be paid in pounds sterling based on prevailing exchange rates.

When will I receive my funding?

We aim to make payments within 10 working days of approving your application.

Who can I talk to about the Student Opportunity Fund?

If you have any general questions regarding the Fund you can also email:

ucu-action-queries@ed.ac.uk