The RIBA Student Hardship Fund

The RIBA Student Hardship Fund helps to make architecture accessible to all. We believe that anyone dreaming of becoming an architect should have the opportunity to do so.

Please donate to the RIBA Student Hardship Fund today

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Increasing numbers of architecture students are facing financial hardship continuing their studies. The RIBA provides grants to those students most in need through our Student Hardship Fund. Our grants can have a big impact on students' lives and no-one is better placed to explain that than the recipients themselves:

 Kate Holt 

I graduated from London Metropolitan University last June and was a recipient of the RIBA student hardship fund in both years of my diploma studies.

Without the support of the hardship fund I’m unsure I would have returned to complete my part two, particularly as I would have struggled to take a place at a London school staffed by architects I was keen to learn from, and a city with such fantastic resources, the RIBA library and their lecture series as only two examples.

The student hardship fund gave me the freedom to explore my architectural interests rather than simply ticking boxes and trying to support myself financially.

It helped me fund field trips allowing me to pick a studio on genuine interest, to attend relevant lectures and exhibitions, and last year to buy materials for many failed concrete mix prototypes!

In my final year it also gave me the time to enter a competition run between the Soane and London Metropolitan University and the financial freedom to contribute to the production of a prototype which was later exhibited outside the Soane for the London Festival of Architecture - an opportunity I would certainly have struggled to take advantage of without the grant.

I believe not only the recipients but the whole of our profession and of architecture would genuinely suffer without the fund. Without its support we would be missing a whole range of interested and talented people.

Any contribution you would like to make will help someone continue their studies or training and hopefully bring us some fantastic future colleagues.

 Matt Lawrence

Last year I experienced what was maybe the most challenging period of my life. Quite amazingly, my family went through a very surreal point, and at pretty much the same time, me and my mum were diagnosed with two completely unrelated forms of the Big C.

Not only does the student hardship fund provide financial assistance, but is also gives people the necessary support to know that they are not in it by themselves, and that there is in fact a much larger network of support and professional bodies to seek help from.

Upon receipt of the funds, I have not stopped to rest – although I’m sure my doctor would tell me to do so - but have instead continued to work, and now have a series of senior mentors from a variety of practices to help guide me into the unknown.

I ask of you all for your continued support to the RIBA’s student hardship fund, as it is gratefully received and much needed in order to help the RIBA continue to ensure financial hardship does not become a barrier to success.

Sophia Keheller 

Building a career is about making lots of small and important decisions; where to apply to university, what to research, where to look for work, who to work with. Some decisions we get to make, and some our circumstances make for us. The Student Hardship Fund doesn’t just offer students money it offers choice. 

There are many students, for whom working is a necessity and I was one of them. I worked through most of my studies but there was a time when, for reasons out of my control, I wasn’t able to take a part time job because I needed to spend my spare time elsewhere. And so when it came to the end of my studies, with my student loan completely run out and no extra work to tide me over, I was left with a small but important decision; whether to take a job for money, which wasn’t in architecture at all, or to take an opportunity in research which was low paid, but in exactly the area of architecture I wished to pursue. 

This is usually one of those decisions which my financial circumstances would have made for me, but that is the joy of the Student Hardship Fund. It allows talented young people to make their own decisions instead of forcing them to build a career out of financial circumstance. The research placement I took led to a better paid, more exciting research placement, which in turn, led to a job as an architectural assistant at a practice which specialises in the kind of buildings I care about. The money from RIBA facilitated a first small step on a path, but it’s a small step I wouldn’t have taken without it.

sophia worksophia work
© Sophia Keheller

Callum Sohal

callum sohal
© Callum Sohal

A few weeks into my final third year project, my house was affected by a fire, resulting in the loss of most of my personal possessions, hours of university work, and the place that I called home. The cost of relocating my home and replacing the damaged goods left me financially exhausted.

Although I continued to attend lectures at University, I often considered whether I would be able to continue with my course.Being granted support from the RIBA Student Hardship Fund enabled me to continue my studies. The support I received during this time was a lifeline and I’d like to thank the RIBA for the support I received during this time.

callum sohal work
© Callum Sohal

Joe Morizzo 

I come from a single parent family in Kingston upon Hull. From a very young age my Mum has been my inspiration – she told me to grasp every opportunity with both hands. My dream was architecture.Whilst being offered a place at architecture school was my dream come true, the reality of living in poverty as a student in Leeds was far from easy.

Architecture is an extremely deep and complex subject, and balancing the high amount of work with crippling financial hardship is a constant test. Things that are necessary in order to complete an architecture degree - model making materials, printing costs, research trips and books on top of rent and food all add up. The relentless and demanding work deadlines, alongside having to think about where the next meal is coming from has been the downfall of many of my fellow students.

I have witnessed extremely talented architecture students give up their hopes of becoming an architect, simply because of financial hardship and the hidden costs of today’s architecture courses. As a recipient of the RIBA Student Hardship Fund, I know how much of a direct difference it can make.

With RIBA’s support, I was able to continue my studies without the added pressures of crippling and stressful additional costs. I do believe that, for students of architecture, it is chances like this that help to guide us and prepare us for the profession.
Joe Morizzo Public ConsultationJoe Morizzo Libra-Institute
© Callum Sohal

We rely on the generosity of supporters of the Student Hardship Fund to make these grants. Applications have been increasing and we currently need £100,000 a year to meet the need. Please make a donation to ensure that we can help all students who really need our assistance. 

Got Ideas?

If you have ideas about fundraising for the RIBA Student Hardship Fund, or would like to discuss making a donation, please do not hesitate to contact Roger Cooper by email.