The Student Opportunity Fund is an exciting initiative which contributes financial support that helps you to take part in activities which enhance your employability, build your confidence and develop your transferable skills.
If you are an undergraduate, postgraduate taught, PGCE or MRes student at Edge Hill University, you can apply for up to £2,000 to support a career-enhancing project, initiative or opportunity that will enrich your student experience and enable you to stand out in a competitive environment.
What is the Student Opportunity Fund? (SOF)
Hear all about the Student Opportunity Fund from our students in our SOF video series. There are two parts to the series, so click the next video once the first has finished playing, to hear more about next steps and how to apply.
What projects, activities and opportunities can the fund support?
Examples of the types of activities that the Student Opportunity Fund can support include:
- Travel and accommodation costs required to undertake unpaid work experience or volunteering opportunities for up to a maximum of 30 days.
- Expenses to travel to and from interviews or assessment days (which are not covered by the employer).
- Representing the University at a conference, festival or event.
- Developing and making creative material, for example films, performances, readings and publications which are not a compulsory part of your coursework.
Since there is a competitive application process for the Student Opportunity Fund, you are strongly advised not to commit to paying for your activity until you have been notified that your application has been successful.
A range of interview wear is also available for you to use, supported via the Student Opportunity Fund. There is no application process for the use of interview wear. Please contact the team for more details by emailing [email protected].
Without the funding, I would have really struggled to be able to afford the cost of the application process. I may not have accepted the job and would have lost out on such an incredible opportunity which the fund has enabled me to pursue.
Business & ManagementView student profile
As a mother of two, this opportunity was the first time I had travelled alone for the first time in 15 years; it was an unusual feeling but I learnt that now my daughters are at university it is my time to carve my own path for myself. The experience definitely increased my self-confidence and reminded me I can do anything if I just push myself out of my comfort zone.
BSc (Hons) Business & Management with Leisure & TourismView student profile
If anyone is considering applying for the Student Opportunity Fund, I would definitely recommend booking an initial meeting with the Careers team to help you get started and to check your eligibility. After that, just go for it – there is no harm in applying, and it will bring you one step closer towards achieving your goals.
Primary Education with QTSView student profile
It was great to hear someone talk about their experience in the industry.
BA Hons Creative WritingView student profile
The panel will only consider applications for funding which cover opportunities to travel abroad where this is arranged through an established partner of the University, with existing links with our International Office and where the University has a Memorandum of Understanding or similar in place. Opportunities to participate in Study China, funded by the UK Government’s Department for Education and Northern Ireland’s Department of the Economy, will also be considered.
What funding can I receive towards the cost of a sandwich year or a study abroad placement?
Although UK universities are entitled to charge fees for sandwich years or years abroad, Edge Hill is waiving these charges to support students who wish to take up these valuable opportunities.
We will meet the cost of tuition fees, for either a sandwich year or an additional year spent studying abroad as part of your course, through the Student Opportunity Fund.
If you are spending a semester overseas, as part of the second year of a three-year degree or a four-year integrated Masters degree, standard tuition fees will apply (as if you spent the full academic year based at Edge Hill University), however half of these tuition fees meaning £4,625 for academic year 2023/24, will be paid for from the Student Opportunity Fund.
A placement bursary is also available through the Student Opportunity Fund for Sandwich Year students. Erasmus+ and Study Abroad students are not eligible for this bursary. The award amounts for eligible students will be determined by the location of your placement and your household income. Please note, there is no application process to access this bursary. Your eligibility will be automatically assessed.
What can’t be supported by the fund?
The Student Opportunity Fund cannot be used to support:
- Core programme requirements, such as field trips, work placements or coursework, where these are compulsory, credit-bearing elements of a programme or module.
- Study Abroad opportunities where students are eligible for Erasmus+ or Turing funding.
- Paid work, for example with organisations such as Camp America.
- Fundraising activities.
- Costs of studying a qualification or course. The panel may, however, consider helping you with travel costs.
- Short-term elective placements.
- Aspects such as cost of food, clothing, equipment, loss of earnings or insurance for specific items such as laptops and mobile phones.
- Activities with organisations such as Plan My Gap Year, International Citizen Service (ICS), Go For Life, SLV Global or similar initiatives.
The Fund encourages students’ employability through unique experiences and opportunities, therefore it would not support a continuation or extension of a previous successful application.
In addition to the above, the Fund cannot be applied retrospectively to activities which have commenced, or taken place, prior to the point of application. Group applications can not be accepted.
If your activity will be enterprise-based, please contact us first at [email protected], prior to completing the application form, so we can advise you.
To be eligible to apply for support from the Student Opportunity Fund, you will need to be:
- Registered on a programme leading to the award of an undergraduate degree, integrated Masters degree, DipHE, foundation degree, PGCE, taught Masters degree, postgraduate certificate, postgraduate diploma or MRes award. This excludes Erasmus+ students who are not eligible.
- Studying full-time or part-time. Part-time students are required to be studying a minimum of 60 credits in the year of application.
- Please note that prior to September 2023 there was an additional requirement that students were domiciled in the UK, Isle of Man or Channel Islands, an EU/EEA or Swiss student who has settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement scheme, or an Irish national. International students were not previously eligible to apply.
If you are studying on an Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) funded programme, such as an apprenticeship, you will not be eligible for the Student Opportunity Fund. Permanent employees of Edge Hill University and seconded students are also not eligible to apply.
How to apply
The Student Opportunity Fund is open for applications.
Please check with our Careers team before completing and submitting an application.
To apply for support from the Student Opportunity Fund, you should download and complete the application form electronically.
You will need to submit:
- a completed application form
- a written reference from your Personal Tutor or programme leader who must confirm that the activity is not a compulsory element of a course or module
- evidence of securing the placement or opportunity
- evidence of costing
- a document describing what your roles and responsibilities will be while undertaking your activity or opportunity. This should be similar to a job description (if applicable for your opportunity)
It is strongly advised that you get in touch with the Careers team before applying to the Student Opportunity Fund. You can use the ask a question service or book an appointment via the careers website. Careers staff can help you find suitable opportunities and provide support in submitting a strong application.
You should treat applying for the Student Opportunity Fund as you would a job application and answer all questions on the application form fully, providing thorough information of your activity/opportunity and a detailed risk assessment.
As part of your application, you will need to provide a breakdown of the budget for the activity. You should:
- ensure the most cost effective options are selected
- use a railcard (if applicable) or advance/off-peak standard class tickets
- choose established companies
- include screenshots of all expenses, such as travel, transfers and parking
- provide all quotes in pound sterling and include screenshots of the prices as proof of costing
If claiming for petrol costs, the Fund cover such costs at 20p per mile with effect from 1 April 2022. Evidence of the number of miles must be provided.
When you have completed your application, you should submit the form and supporting evidence by e-mail to [email protected]. Alternatively, you can submit your form and supporting evidence by post or in person to the Catalyst building.
Applications are considered by a panel who meet on a weekly basis during term time.
You are advised to apply as early in the academic year as possible.
Full or partial costs may be awarded and, in some cases, means-tested criteria may be applied.
The outcome of your application will be communicated via email. The panel’s decision is final and no additional money will be awarded (including for exchange rate fluctuations) once a decision has been made.
If your application is successful, payment will be made directly to your bank account via BACS. This can take up to five working days from our Finance department receiving the relevant paperwork.
You will be required to sign to accept the Fund’s terms and conditions prior to payment being made. The allocated funds must only be used for the purpose specified within your application. It is your responsibility to make the relevant arrangements for the activity to take place once your funding has been confirmed.
Any money you are allocated does not have to be repaid. The only exception is where the project, activity or opportunity does not take place. In these circumstances, the Scholarships Officer must be notified without delay and you will be required to repay any previously awarded funds to the University.
Sharing your story
Upon successful completion of your project, activity or opportunity, you will be required to complete an online survey and make an appointment with a Careers Adviser to discuss how the opportunity has enhanced your employability.
We will also ask you to share your story, for example through a poster presentation, blog, written report, student profile or news article, telling us what you did with the money. Edge Hill University reserves the right to use this information in future publicity material.
We will also ask you to become a Fund Ambassador, working with the Scholarships Officer to promote the fund, sharing your story and enthusiasm with your peers.