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Supporting our students is always a priority at Durham. We’ve listened to student feedback on key issues, invested heavily in our services for students and increased the amount of support available for many different areas of university life.

Mental Wellbeing Support Services

We are investing an extra £1.3m a year to enhance the way we deliver Student Support, creating additional support roles and a new portal through which, in addition to existing routes, students can access Student Support services quickly and easily. This includes mental wellbeing and pastoral support. 

The Student Support Hub brings together information on the full range of student support services available at Durham. This includes dedicated support available in academic departments and Colleges, our Academic Skills Centre, and Counselling & Mental Health and Disability Support. We also have a Listening Service run by our Chaplains.

Proactive wellbeing initiatives are run by Colleges and by our Student Wellbeing team, which also provides guidance on physical health and local services. We have invested £33 million in our Sports and Wellbeing Park which offers a full range of sporting opportunities and facilities.

Cost of Living

We know that the rise in essential costs such as energy, housing and food is a concern for students, and we have identified a range of ways to help, including further financial assistance, money advice workshops and guidance on finding part-time employment. 

We’ve invested significantly in programmes such as the Student Support Fund, and the Durham Grant Scheme (DGS) which supports students from lower-income families. For example, we increased the DGS for this academic year (2023/24) by up to 13.6%, which was one of the largest increases in the sector. For 2024/25, we have announced a further 6.7% rise in the DGS, as well as extending the scheme to students who previously would not have been eligible. This will be the third consecutive year that we have increased the DGS.  

We provide a free Breakfast Club for students at the Bill Bryson Library, and have partnered with the Too Good To Go app, which makes available surplus food from a range of University catering sites for a heavily discounted price.  

We want to make it as easy as possible for our students to get the help they need and for them to know that they aren’t alone. Our Cost of Living Hub signposts students to the support and resources available to them across the University.

 Housing and accommodation

We have developed a Housing Hub for information and guidance on student housing, to bring all the information students need on housing together in one place.

We have established a Student Housing Strategy Group, which includes the University, Durham Students’ Union and local partners, to address issues of student housing.  

In October 2023 a voluntary Student Lettings Code of Practice was launched, working with local letting agents and landlords to ensure students' needs are being put first in the letting process.

We have also kept increases to our college accommodation and catering charges as low as possible for 2024/25, helping students wishing to access returner rooms. Charges will increase by 6.3%, which reflects the consumer price index including housing costs figure (CPIH) for September 2023.

 Financial support

We offer a wide range of financial support for students. We have more than doubled our Student Hardship Fund and also offer an Instant Access Hardship Fund for students in need of immediate assistance. 

Our Student Support Fund is available to help with essential costs of being a student and we also have a Student Money Adviser to assist students with advice on money, budgeting, managing bills and payments and entitlement to benefits. 

We offer a wide range of scholarships through the University or with partners for current and prospective students. 

 Our Student Employability Fund supports students from low-income households to develop skills, attributes and experiences to help them progress into their chosen career. This includes travel, clothing and expenses bursaries to enable students to undertake the employment opportunity. Our Careers Service also offers information and support about part-time employment. 

Student Voice

College Common Rooms have elected student Welfare Officers who support students within their College in conjunction with University staff, helping them settle into University life.

They organise student-led awareness campaigns and regular events on a variety of topics and help signpost students to relevant support services.

Durham Students' Union runs an Advice Service which is independent from the University, providing impartial and confidential advice to students on a range of issues including academic advice, housing advice, complaints and conduct, and harassment/discrimination. The SU also represents the academic interests of all Durham students, through Student Voice Committees and close working with JCRs in Colleges.

We hope that by continuing to invest in support for our students, we can help everyone to achieve their potential and have an outstanding experience during their time at Durham.

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