Hardship funds

Any RIBA Student Hardship grant will be awarded from the RIBA Education Fund, and may be allocated from the Jayne Lennox Scholarships (a generous donation to the RIBA Education Fund in 2014).  


Image above © Callum Sohal, recipient of an RIBA Education Fund grant in 2013.

The purposes of the RIBA Student Hardship Funds are to:

  • Alleviate financial hardship of students of architecture
  • Assist students financially in gaining professional experience
  • Widen participation in architectural education
  • Reduce student drop-out rates

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
    - undertaking Stage 1 or Stage 2 professional experience.
  • All applicants should have successfully completed the first year of an RIBA-validated Part 1 course in the UK.
  • EU students can apply to the RIBA Student Hardship Funds if they have been resident in the UK full-time for at least 3 years prior to the start of their current (or most recent) course in architecture.  i.e Part 2 students can apply for funds provided they have successfully completed an RIBA-validated Part 1 course in the UK.
  • International students can apply to the RIBA Student Hardship Funds only if they have been resident in the UK full-time for at least 3 years prior to the start of their first course in architecture


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 assessors 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, please contact education.temp@riba.org or +44 (0)20 7307 3678, to explain your situation and check whether an application would be accepted.

Application process - Now Closed for 2016/17 academic year.

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.

PDF RIBA Student Hardship Funds - Guidance Notes for Applicants 2016-17

Word RIBA Student Hardship Funds Application Form 2016 - 2017

Please note that the funds are limited, and grants of up to £3,000 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.

Examples of when grants can be awarded 

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.

About the 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 £690,000 to support hundreds of students of architecture in the UK. In the 2015-16 academic year, £76,250 was awarded to 53 students enrolled in schools of architecture across the UK on the grounds of financial hardship.

Who the Fund helps

The majority of 2015-16 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.

You can read case studies from previous recipients.

About the Jayne Lennox Scholarships

The Barry Lennox legacy was bequeathed to the RIBA Education Fund in memory of his wife Jayne Lennox.

Barry Lennox was born on 27 June 1935 in Erith, Kent. He attended Dartford Grammar School. In 1953 at the age of 17, he replied to an advertisement to work in Southern Rhodesia and within a week was accepted. He emigrated to Southern Rhodesia in June 1953. His first appointment was with the Government Audit Office. He worked for various Departments of Internal Affairs, retiring as Assistant Secretary in 1980.

Barry returned to England quite a number of times and on one of his trips he met his future wife, Jayne - they both hailed the same taxi which they shared and three weeks later Jayne left England to join Barry in Southern Rhodesia.

Barry was very keen on Civil Service politics and served on the Committee of the Administrative and Executive Officers' Association (ADEX), ultimately becoming Chairman. From 1977 to 1980 he was President of the Public Service Association (PSA) and in that capacity he went to the UK to endeavour to secure the pensions of Rhodesian Civil Servants.

Upon his permanent return to England in 1980, he was initially going to be a Constituency Agent for the Conservative Party, but after a year or so he started to work for the RIBA, Southern Region. He worked for the RIBA until retirement in 1997. Barry was instrumental in helping local architects and encouraged many to partake in their institute’s affairs. He was instrumental in organising the move to new offices in Kings Worthy, near Winchester.

Barry was not long in the UK before he was elected to the Council of the Overseas Service Pensioners' Association (OSPA) in May 1981.

Barry was the longest servicing OSPA Council member, continuously from then until his death, save only for a period of five years from 1999 to 2004 when he retired from his job with RIBA and relocated back to Devon. The two periods of his service amounted to 27 years. He was tireless in his total dedication to defending the interests of the former Rhodesian Public Service Pensioners.

Barry passed peacefully away, in a private ward at Teignmouth Hospital, Devon, on 3 November 2012, after suffering from Motor Neurone Disease for the last year. He was 77. His wife Jayne predeceased him by three and a half years.