The RIBA Student Hardship Fund

RIBA's Student Hardship Fund is designed to make architecture accessible to all. We are strong believers in that no matter what your background, if you have a passion to be an architect you should be able to fulfil it.

Donate to RIBA's Student Hardship Fund today

For some students, supporting themselves through seven years of architecture studies is simply not feasible. The RIBA Student Hardship Fund is a lifeline to many architecture students throughout the UK and acts to support them during what can be one of the most stressful and difficult times of their lives – making architecture accessible for all. 

“As a recipient of the Student Hardship Fund, I know how much of a difference it can make. With the help of the RIBA I have been able to continue a high level of study and research without the added pressures of otherwise crippling and stressful additional costs.”

 - Joe Morizzo, Student Hardship Fund recipient

The RIBA Student Hardship Fund can have a huge impact on the life of a student, and no one is better placed to explain that than the recipients themselves. Read our blog entries below to hear from the recipients themselves on how the fund has helped them. 

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 is currently in his final year of his Masters at Birmingham School of Architecture and works part time at a large architectural practice in Birmingham. Upon graduation, he plans to return to London to complete his Part 2 placement. 

Every penny into the Student Hardship Fund goes directly to students in need of relief from financial hardship. To ensure that ambitious and talented students like Callum can continue to enrich the future of architecture, please donate today. 

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 now works freelance on a range of diverse residential, utilities and education projects at both NORD Architects and Open Practice Architecture.

By donating to the RIBA Student Hardship Fund, you can directly support students like Joe - making architecture accessible for all. Find out more.

Joe Morizzo Public ConsultationJoe Morizzo Libra-Institute
© Callum Sohal