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Access to Learning Fund

Students in financial hardship, who need extra help to start a course or stay in higher education, could get help from the Access to Learning Fund.

Your university or college decides:

  • who gets the money
  • how much you can get

Any money you get is paid on top of your other student finance.

You can only apply to the Access to Learning Fund if you’re studying in England.

What you'll get

The amount you can get is decided by your university or college.

Most awards are grants that don’t have to be paid back, although some are loans that do have to be paid back.

Money can be paid in a lump sum or in instalments.

Benefits

Money from the Access to Learning Fund won’t usually be counted as income when working out your entitlement to benefits or tax credits, unless it’s for day-to-day living costs.

New part-time students can’t get help with tuition fees from the Access to Learning Fund.

Eligibility

Your course

You can apply to the Access to Learning Fund if you’re studying a higher education course that’s:

  • full-time
  • part-time
  • undergraduate
  • postgraduate

If you’re a part-time student you may qualify if your course:

  • lasts at least 1 year
  • takes no more than twice as long to complete as an equivalent full-time course
  • takes no more than 4 times as long to complete as an equivalent full-time course if you’re a new student starting from September 2012

You must apply for any student loans, grants and bursaries you’re entitled to before applying for the Access to Learning Fund.

New part-time students can’t get help with tuition fees from the Access to Learning Fund.

Financial hardship - priority groups

The following groups are priorities for support:

  • students with children - especially single parents
  • mature students - especially those with existing financial commitments
  • students from low-income families (as determined by the university or college)
  • disabled students
  • care leavers (if you’ve been in care)
  • students who are homeless or who are living in ‘Foyers’ (these provide accommodation, guidance and support for homeless young people)
  • final-year students

How to apply

Contact the student services department at your university or college - they’ll decide if you qualify.

 

Who to contact

Website
GOV.UK Government website
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