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RIBA student hardship fund saved by last minute donation

The only charity devoted solely to helping architectural students in financial hardship has been saved from going out of business by the end of the year.

The RIBA Education Fund has admitted that without a recent cash injection, a massive financial shortfall would have left it unable to continue its vital work after the New Year.

It has seen its funds depleted since ARCUK - which had run the fund - was abolished in 1997 and it was handed to the RIBA.

If the fund was allowed to go out of business it would come as a hammer blow for architectural students, who are facing top-up fees and loans on an unprecedented scale. One estimate suggests that students studying architecture could rack up debts of £50,000 before they qualify.

A statement released yesterday said: 'Without its previous regular income stream, and with an increasing demand for bursaries, the fund's capital is now seriously depleted, to the extent that, without substantial donations, this vital source of support for students at financial risk looked unlikely to continue beyond 2005.'

In a last minute repreve, the charity has, however, received a small boost this week with news that it had received a donation of £10,000 from the Garfield Weston Foundation. But it is unlikely this will ease the financial crisis for long.

If you wish to find out more or if you wish to donate to the Education Fund, contact John-Paul Nunes on 020 7307 3678.

by Ed Dorrell

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