Hardship funds

Any RIBA Student Hardship grant will be awarded from either the RIBA Education Fund or the RIBA Walter Parker Fund.

Contact Hayley Russell on 020 7307 3678 or hayley.russell@riba.org for more information.

Eligibility criteria

  • Applicants should be able to prove that they are in financial hardship when applying to the RIBA Student Hardship Funds. The assessors are particularly looking to support students from low income households or where circumstances beyond their control have meant that they are struggling financially.

  • The RIBA Student Hardship Funds are open to students studying an RIBA-validated Part 1 or Part 2 architecture course, or with RIBA candidate status, in the UK. (Or in the case of applying for support with practical experience, students who have graduated from an RIBA-validated Part 1 or Part 2 architecture course, or with candidate course status)

  • Applicants should have successfully completed the first year of an RIBA-validated Part 1 course in the UK.

  • The student must have been resident in the UK full-time for at least 3 years prior to the start of their first course in architecture. (Please note that from September 2014, we will start accepting applications from EU students who are embarking on an RIBA-validated Part 2 course in the UK if have already completed an RIBA-validated Part 1 course in the UK.)

The purpose of the hardship grants is to help architectural students who are experiencing exceptional financial hardship to continue their studies. Because the funds available each year are limited, the trustees will not normally make exceptions to the above criteria. However, if you consider that there are unusual personal circumstances that have prevented you from meeting all the criteria, you may contact Hayley Russell on +44 (0)20 7307 3678 or on hayley.russell@riba.org, to explain your situation and check whether an application would be accepted.

Application process

Students need to complete an application form and diversity monitoring survey and submit it along with the supporting documents to the RIBA Education Department. Please ensure that you read the guidance notes before completing this form as it provides key information about the content of the application form and full details of the assessment process.

Applications for the 2013-14 academic year are now closed. Applications for the 2014-15 academic year will open in September 2014. You can still use the forms below to apply for support with professional experience you may be seeking or undertaking during the summer holidays.

PDFRIBA Student Hardship Funds - Guidance Notes for Applicants 2013-14

Word RIBA Student Hardship Funds Application Form 2013 - 2014

Please note that the funds are limited, and grants can only be made for as long as the funding remains. If the Funds are exhausted before the end of the academic year, we may not be able to accept applications later in the year.

You can read case studies from previous recipients.

Grants can be awarded, for example:

While studying

  • To students from low income households where their parents are unable to provide any necessary financial assistance. If you are under the age of 25 at the beginning of the academic year, we ask for information on parental income. If you are over 25, then it is optional to complete this section.

  • For general living and course costs that are not already covered by other forms of financial help while at University.

  • For those who have experienced exceptional personal difficulties throughout the course of their studies that have impacted on their financial situation.

  • For students who encounter exceptional costs, or unexpected financial hardship during the course of their architectural education because of situations such as illness, bereavement or changes in family circumstances.

  • For specific, one-off costs, such as course-related equipment or study trips. You will need to explain why this is integral to participation in your course and show you have no other means of funding it.

While undertaking or seeking practical experience (which is compliant with the PEDR)

  • To students from low income households where their parents are unable to provide any necessary financial assistance. If you are under the age of 25 at the beginning of the academic year, we ask for information on parental income. If you are over 25, then it is optional to complete this section.

  • For costs associated with interviews for professional experience placements.

  • For relocation costs for professional experience placements.

  • For travel expenses, including public transport and international travel costs for professional experience. We only accept the costs of a car if you have exceptional reasons for doing so.

  • For general living costs for students who will be undertaking a period of practical experience in a not-for-profit organisation.

  • For those who are thinking of giving up or not accepting a professional experience placement because of financial restrictions.

RIBA Education Fund

The RIBA Education Fund makes grants to students of architecture in the UK experiencing financial hardship.

We believe that anyone dreaming of becoming an architect should have the opportunity to do so. The RIBA Education Fund has been set up to ensure that the study of architecture remains financially accessible to all. The RIBA Education Fund supports students throughout their education, not only encouraging diversity, but also ensuring access to those who would otherwise struggle with the costs.

Architecture courses are longer and usually more expensive than most other courses owing to the need for materials for studio work, printing and study trips. Student loans do not cover this expenditure over the course duration.


It was initially established by the Architects Registration Council of the United Kingdom (ARCUK) under the Architects Registration Act of 1931, which recognised that funding was a major consideration in the education of architects. The act established a levy on annual registration fees to provide scholarships and maintenance grants to assist architecture students. As the new Architects Act 1997 did not allow for such levies on the retention fee, the decision was taken to transfer Trusteeship to the RIBA. In 1997 the Architects Registration Board (formerly ARCUK) agreed that the assets be transferred to the RIBA Education Fund (charity number 1063625).

In 2013 the trustees of the RIBA Education Fund agreed to close down the charity and to transfer any remaining monies to a restricted fund within the RIBA. All funds are still allocated according to the original remit, with an exclusive focus on supporting architectural education, and not any other RIBA activity. This merger has now been formally registered with the Charity Commission.

Since its establishment in 1997, the RIBA Education Fund has provided over £525,000 to support hundreds of students of architecture in the UK.

Demand from students has increased year on year. In the 2008-09 academic year, the fund received 50 applications. The 2011-12 academic year saw a total of 154 applications from students experiencing financial hardship, the highest ever number of applications.

In the 2012-13 academic year, £75,000 was awarded to 73 students enrolled in schools of architecture across the UK on the grounds of financial hardship. This is the highest ever amount of money that has been allocated in one academic year.

Who the Fund helps

The majority of 2012-13 grant recipients were Part 2 students, with significant support also made to third-year students, as the intention is to support students in their final stages of education in order to allow them to progress towards qualification.

Each year the RIBA Education Fund aims to support applicants experiencing hardship that might curtail the fulfilment of their ambition of becoming an architect. The fund works to ensure that opportunities are given to talented students from the widest cross section of society.

RIBA Walter Parker Bursaries

The W J Parker Trust is funded by the bequest of Walter J Parker, who left a legacy to support the apprenticeship and professional training of architects experiencing financial hardship.

The emphasis of the Walter Parker Bursary scheme is to support students to enter the architectural profession. Part of this is supporting students with practical experience, which is a requirement of architectural education: students must demonstrate key professional skills and competencies at the Part 3 professional examination which is the last stage before qualification as an architect.

Students of architecture can gain key experience at all stages of their architectural education. This bursary scheme provides assistance to students and graduates who are entering the architectural profession and who are limited by financial constraints, specifically supporting individuals to take advantage of opportunities for practical experience that will assist on their route to qualification as an architect.

To apply for funding, please complete the RIBA Student Hardship Funds application form and read the Guidance Notes which includes important information about how to complete the application form. 

Applications are accepted throughout the year, but funding is limited and grants can be made only for as long as there is funding available, so applicants are advised to apply early.  

Please contact Hayley Russell via email or call +44 (0)20 7307 3678 if you have any questions about the application process or to check your eligibility for the bursary.