I am glad that someone has finally exposed the ridiculous system of distributing hardship funds. After overspending in my first year, I paid off all my debts over the summer. I returned to university, poor but in control, sat down and budgeted and realised that even by being cautious, I was going to finish the year crippled by debt. I made a hardship application on this basis. I pointed out that I desperately needed a way to pay for accommodation, but I was refused assistance of any kind.
Instead, I had to beg money from my local church to make up the shortfall.
You can imagine my anger and frustration when a friend of mine who spent Pounds 300 a week on cocaine, speed and designer clothes was awarded £1,000, mainly because she was deeply in debt at the time of application as a result of her irresponsible spending. Her recklessness carried far more weight than my careful and honest financial planning. My friend's response to "hardship"? More clothes and an Easter holiday in Ibiza.