The Student Assistance Fund is now available for application online as part of an overhaul of student financial assistance services.

The fund went online last Thursday and will be available until the beginning of November for students experiencing unforeseen financial problems.

UCD Students’ Union Welfare Vice-President Scott Ahearn said: “The origins of the fund is actually in terms of grants being so late after Christmas. The student could apply to get a little extra income and if anyone was having a rough time, they could get an extra €300 or €400.”

Students can access the fund by logging into their SIS Student Web accounts and clicking on the Student Services Tab. Ahearn said: “The online application is simple. It questions who you are, what you’re studying, what your parents do, what your parents earn, what you earn if you work. You do a little blurb in terms of your situation and why you’re applying to the Student Assistance Fund.”

Students must then submit a record of their income for the previous year to their student advisor.

The Student Assistance Fund is unique in that it is the only one of its kind to be available for online application. “The student assistance fund is online,” Ahearn explained. “That’s because we have to have an interview process in terms of the others.”

A number of new financial assistance services for students have been introduced, and students experiencing financial difficulty can now look to the St. Vincent de Paul (SVP) fund, as well as existing financial assistance funds.

The SVP fund, which is run by the society, is to be administered at weekly clinics, offering amounts under €150 for a specific need.

The clinics are scheduled to be held from 10.30am to 12.30pm on Tuesdays, and are open to all students who require a small amount of financial assistance.

Other funds available are the Welfare Fund, which is for assistance greater than €150, and the Childcare Assistance Fund, both of which require an interview and are not available for online application.

Ahearn added: “It’s fantastic; it’s a great fund that helps students in UCD who are in real need of a small amount of money.”

In addition to the current funds on offer, the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) will be offering weekly clinics on campus, providing budgeting and loan advice to students.