Skip to main content

Access to Learning Fund Part-time Undergraduates and Postgraduates

Christmas Deadlines

The deadline for submitting hardship fund applications is Friday 24 November. We will endeavour to process all complete applications received by this date before Christmas. Applications made after 24 November will still be accepted, although appointments may not be offered until the new year.

What is the Access to Learning Fund?

The Access to Learning Fund is intended to provide selective help to students who have serious financial difficulties. Grants from the Access to Learning Fund are needs related and are non-repayable. Most part-time students are considered for help with course related costs only e.g. books, equipment, childcare, and travel. Access to Learning Funds cannot be awarded to assist with the payment of tuition fees.

Back to the top

Am I eligible?

Registered part-time students paying UK home fees and who have settled status and have been ordinarily resident in the British Islands for the three years immediately before the start of their studies are eligible to apply. Part-time students must be enrolled on at least 50% of a full-time equivalent programme (25% for students who began their studies in or after 2012).

You will need to show genuine financial hardship and that you have explored and exhausted all other ways of supporting yourself. Part-time undergraduates should have applied to the Student Loans Company for the maximum fee support and course costs grant available to them. Postgrduate students are expected to have made realistic provision before the start of their course. Priority for funding is given to students with dependants and students with disabilities. Applications cannot be considered from students who have completed, permanently withdrawn from or abandoned their course.

For more detailed information see the Guidance Notes for Part-time students which includes information for both undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Back to the top

What help can I expect to receive?

Grants from the fund are needs-related and assessed on an individual basis. As a result, we are unable to give a clear indication of the likely value of any possible award until an application has been submitted and the assessment process completed. There is no guarantee that funds will be awarded in every case and consequently, some applications will be unsuccessful. Most part-time students are considered for additional help with course related costs only e.g. books, equipment, travel and childcare costs incurred during course contact hours.

Undergraduate part-time students who started their course before September 2012, studying a minimum of two 30 credit modules in the academic year may also be eligible for a grant towards the costs of approved or registered childcare. Students must receive the full fee and course grant support available from the Student Loans Company. Students who started their course after September 2012 and who are studying one, 30 credit module or more, may also be eligible to apply. You should complete, and get your childcare provider to sign, a Childcare Information Form  . The Childcare Information Form should be completed in addition to the University Hardship Funds Application Form  .

Students in receipt of benefits, such as Income Support or Universal Credit and who are ineligible for tuition fee support from the Student Loans Company, may apply to the University for help with tuition fee costs through the Part-time Undergraduate University Bursary Scheme.

More detailed information can be found in the Guidance Notes for Part-time students  .

Back to the top

How do I apply?

Complete the Hardship Funds Application Form  . If you have a partner or you pay for childcare, you will also need to complete the Partner Information Form and/or the Childcare Information Sheet  . Once you have completed your application you will need to return it to the Student Funding team along with the supporting documentation detailed within the form. Any receipts or invoices associated with the application must be on headed paper.

Back to the top

I have completed the application form. What happens next?

Once we have received your form, the Student Funding team will contact you to arrange a short confidential interview with a specialist Student Funding Adviser which will take approximately 30 minutes. The interview will be informal and will give you the opportunity to discuss your individual needs and circumstances in detail.

Please be assured that the Funding Adviser will consider your best interests at all stages of the assessment process. However, you should be aware that the Funding Adviser works within National Association of Student Money Advisers (NASMA) guidelines for the assessment of awards and distribution of funds. It may be necessary during the interview to refer to your bank statements, credit history and spending patterns. The discussion may also explore opportunities for part-time working and other funding available. Any questions are not intended to be intrusive, but to allow the Funding Adviser to form a complete and comprehensive assessment of your financial situation and, if possible, to recommend a successful outcome to your application.

After your interview, your application will be assessed against guidelines for the allocation of funds. You will be notified of the outcome by email within 10 working days and any award will be paid within a further 10 working days (providing you have submitted your bank details on receipt of your email, if applicable). Please note, payments may be made in instalments.

Any original documentation you supplied as part of your application will be returned to your term time address. It is your responsibility to keep your addresses up to date, which you can do through eVision.

Please ensure you bring your University ID card to your appointment.

Back to the top

I would like to apply for financial support with the cost of a diagnostic test

Part-time students may be eligible for a non-repayable award towards the cost of a diagnostic test for a specific learning difficulty. Applications must be submitted within three months of the date of your test.

If you receive a Part-time Fee Waiver award OR you are a postgraduate student in receipt of a qualifying means-tested benefit  
  • You should complete the online application for reimbursement of a diagnostic test within 3 months of their diagnostic test.
  • Please scan and attach a copy of your invoice or receipt from your test centre and evidence of your means tested benefits (if applicable). Your invoice or receipt should be on letter-headed paper and state clearly the date of your assessment. The maximum award is £250.
  • You will receive an email within ten working days to notify you of the outcome of your application and process for payment, if applicable.

If you are not sure if this applies to you, please contact us on 024 7615 0096 or email

All other part-time Home (UK) students

Students will need to apply for a full means-tested Access to Learning Fund assessment. Please complete the Hardship Funds Application Form   and return it to the Student Funding office along with the supporting evidence required (including a copy of your receipt or invoice from your assessor which should be on letter-headed paper and state clearly the date of your assessment appointment). We will contact you to arrange an appointment to see a Student Funding Adviser as soon as possible.

Please contact the Student Funding team for full details of the eligibility criteria.

Applications cannot be considered from students who have completed, permanently withdrawn from, or abandoned their course.

Back to the top

I am required to pay £200 towards the cost of a computer through Disabled Students' Allowance

If you have been recommended a computer as part of your assessment for Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA), you will be required to pay £200 towards the purchase. You may be eligible for financial assistance to help with this cost. For details, please see the Disability Services Disabled Students' Allowance page.

Back to the top

Can I reapply?

You can reapply to the Access to Learning Fund during the same academic year providing you are still fully registered on your course.

In both cases, you will need to provide relevant documentary evidence and bank statements for the last 3 months. Once we have received your form and documents you will be asked to attend another brief appointment with a Student Funding Adviser and you will be notified of the outcome of your re-application as above.

Back to the top

Who should I contact if I have any questions?

If you have any questions related to the Access to Learning Fund, the application process or student funding in general, please do not hesitate to contact the Student Funding team on, or by telephone on 024 7615 0096.

Back to the top