Access to Learning Fund

Financial help available from the Access to Learning Fund

If you get into financial difficulties while studying, help is available from the Access to Learning Fund (ALF). Any awards are subject to available funding.

This provides extra money if you need help for your course or to stay in higher education. It can also provide help if you are on a low income or suffering financial hardship.

The fund can be used for course and living costs that are not met by other grants, for emergency payments to cover financial crises, or to help you if you are thinking of giving up your course because of financial difficulties.

Money from the Access to Learning Fund is paid on top of the standard student finance package. It is not meant as a substitute for it. As a student, you are expected to apply for all the loans, grants and bursaries (as appropriate) to which you are entitled, before asking for help from the Access to Learning Fund.

Aim of the Fund

  • To support vulnerable students, in particular to help them access and remain in higher education.
  • To assist those who need extra help to meet particular costs which are not already met from grant, student loan or other sources of funding.

The fund can be used to help UK/EU students registered on a course in the following categories:

  • Full and part time students (including distance learners) following any of the eligible higher education courses.
  • Students on sandwich courses.
  • Students on sandwich flexible PGCE courses, who can receive help to cover costs during the period of study.
  • Full time and part time students on a postgraduate course (including distance learners) following a course that is a minimum of one year, and providing that part-time postgraduate students are studying at least 50% of a full time equivalent course.
  • NHS students (both means-tested and non-means-tested bursary holders and NHS salaried employees).

Important - Applications must be accompanied with supporting evidence - without evidence an assessment of your application cannot be made.

Who is eligible for the Access to Learning Fund?

Part-time students on courses that last at least one year and do not take more than twice as long to complete as an equivalent full-time course are eligible to receive this fund.

Full-time students and students with children, lone parents, mature students, students with low income families, students who have been in care, students who are homeless, final-year students and disabled students are also eligible to apply to this fund.

Enquiries about Access to Learning Fund

Please contact Student Money Advice by making an enquiry to

Currently there are no Student Money drop-in sessions.



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