- What is the Access to Learning Fund?
- Am I eligible?
- What help can I expect to receive?
- How do I apply?
- I have completed the application form. What happens next?
- I would like to apply for financial help with the cost of a diagnostic test
- I am required to pay £200 towards the cost of a computer through Disabled Students' Allowance
- Can I reapply?
- Who should I contact if I have any questions?
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. They are intended to help with day-to-day expenses and course-related costs, such as the cost of accommodation, childcare, transport, books and utilities.
Access to Learning Funds cannot be awarded to assist with the payment of academic fees.
Registered full and 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. Postgraduate students whose registration status is 'Limbo: Thesis' are not eligible to apply to the Access to Learning Fund.
If you are a part-time Postgraduate student please see the web page for part-time students
The Access to Learning Fund for postgraduates is intended as a safety net for students in financial difficulty, not their main source of income. Any award is likely to assist in the short term only, with the purpose of giving you time to arrange funds for the remainder of your course.
You will need to show genuine financial hardship and will be expected to have made realistic provision at the start of your course to fund both tuition fees and living costs An award from the Fund may not be appropriate if adequate provision has not been made for the duration of your course. You should have explored and exhausted all other ways of supporting yourself.
- Postgraduate students should have applied for and taken out the maximum Postgraduate Masters or Doctoral Loan, or any other loan available to you, as well as any supplementary grants and benefits you are entitled to, and explored opportunities for part-time work, before applying to the Access to Learning Fund.
- Medical students should have taken out any supplementary grants and benefits you are entitled to, and explored opportunities for part-time work. You will also need to supply evidence that you have taken out your full entitlement to Student Maintenance Loan (years 1-4) and NHS Bursary (years 2-4).
- Social Work students need to supply evidence that you have taken out your full entitlement of NHS Bursary. Students who have not been allocated an NHS Bursary will be expected to demonstrate and provide evidence that they have made realistic provision to fund both their tuition fees and living costs for the duration of their course.
- ITT students (unsalaried) need to supply evidence that you have taken out your full entitlement to student Maintenance Loan and Tuition Fee Loan.
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.
More detailed information can be found in the Guidance Notes for Postgraduate students .
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.
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 (one per child). Once you have completed your application you will need to return it to the Student Funding team along with photocopies or scanned copies of the supporting documentation detailed within the form. Any receipts or invoices associated with the application must be dated and on headed paper.
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 to one hour. 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 with NASMA (National Association of Student Money Advisers) 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.
Please only provide photocopies or scanned copies of your supporting documentation. Any original documentation you supply as part of your application will be returned to you at your interview or will be left for you to collect from the Student Reception at Senate House.
Please ensure you bring your University ID card to your appointment.
Home, postgraduate students who have been resident in the UK for three years prior to the start of their course can apply for a non-repayable award towards the cost of a diagnostic test for a specific learning difficulty. Medical students are also eligible to apply if they have taken their full entitlement to student financial support from the UK government.
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 photocopies or scanned copies of the supporting evidence required (please also include a copy of your receipt or invoice from your assessor. This 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 note that applications cannot be considered from students who have completed, permanently withdrawn from, or abandoned their course. Applications must be submitted within three months of the date of your test.
I am required to pay £200 towards the cost of a computer through Disabled Students' Allowance (Student Finance England)
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.
You can reapply to the Access to Learning Fund during the same academic year providing you are still fully registered on your course.
- If your circumstances have changed since your original application (for example, a change in marital status, number of dependants or a change in household income/expenditure) please complete a new Hardship Funds Application Form .
- If your re-application is for other reasons please complete a Students Hardship Funds Re-application Form .
In both cases, you will need to provide photocopies or scanned copies of the 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or by telephone on 024 7615 0096.