Access to Learning Fund (ALF)
What is the Access to Learning Fund?
The Access to Learning Fund is an annual fund which is given to the University by the Government to distribute to HOME students who are in financial hardship. Any award from the fund is paid on top of the standard student finance package, it is not meant to be a substitute.
How can the Access to Learning Fund help?
The Access to Learning Fund can provide help if you’re in hardship and need extra financial support. For example you may be:
- A parent with high child care costs
- A final year student who has limited time to earn because of programme commitments
- A student with high programme costs (not fees if you are full time
- A student whose reasonable expenditure is not met by their income because of
their individual circumstances.
Who can apply?
Only HOME students and some EU students (usually if they have lived in the UK for 3 years or have Migrant Worker status) can apply to the fund. All students who are eligible for a student loan must have taken their full entitlement. A student can be:
- Full- time or on their placement year
- A student receiving a NHS bursary
- Part-time (but we will only help with travel/programme costs/ child care costs under the general fund)
- Part-time and receiving a full course and maximum fee grant (from Student Finance England*). If the fee grant doesn’t pay the full fee being charged by the University, we may be able to make up the difference through the Additional Fee Support Scheme. Ask at the Access Fund Centre for more details.
- Full-time or part-time
- Postgraduate students should note that the fund cannot be used as a source for funding a programme and students applying will need to show that at the start of their academic year they have the resources to pay all of their fees and have enough money to meet their basic living expenses. For example, a single student must show they have enough money to pay their tuition fees plus £165 per week to live on.
How to apply & what happens if you're dissatisfied You can apply as soon as you’ve started your programme and you have received your first loan instalment (if you are eligible). At this point, you should know how much financial support you’re getting for the year and should be able to tell if you’re going to need extra help. If you are going to need extra help, it’s a good idea to apply to the Access to Learning Fund as soon as you can.
1. Application forms are available from, and should be returned in person to:
- The Access Funds Centre, Student Support and Wellbeing Centre, Northumberland Building, City campus, Northumbria University, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1 8ST, Tel:- 0191 227 4079. OR
- If you are a student at Coach Lane you can get an application form or hand in your form at Student Support and Wellbeing Centre, Allendale Building, West Campus, Coach lane
- If you are on placement, or you are disabled and you are unable to visit the office in person, please telephone the Access Funds Centre to discuss how to submit your application.
- The Access Fund panel meets every week during term time to consider applications on an individual basis.
- You will be notified in writing of the Panel's decision. If you have been given an award, instructions on your payment will follow. Because of confidentiality we will not give information about Panel decisions over the telephone.
2. If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the Panel's decision, or would like further details as to how we have calculated your income and expenditure, you can speak informally to an adviser in the Student Support and Wellbeing centre for an explanation of how the decision was made.
3. If you are still not satisfied, you can apply in writing, with any missing or additional documents, for a Review, at the next Panel meeting. You must do this within 10 working days from the date on your decision letter.
4. If you remain dissatisfied with the outcome of such a Review you may Appeal to the Access to Learning Fund Appeal Panel.
(a) You may only appeal to this panel on the basis of;-
Procedural irregularities in the conduct of the assessment; or
There being relevant information which it was not possible to have made available at the time of application or review or information which has not properly been taken into account.
(b) You must make any such appeal within 10 working days from the date on your Review decision letter
(c) The Access to Learning Fund Appeal Panel shall comprise:-
- The Deputy Vice Chancellor (Learning and Teaching) and
- The Dean of the Student's school.
(d) The decision of the Access to Learning Fund Appeal panel shall be final. No appeal to this panels' decision is permitted.
(e) Where the Access to Learning Fund Appeal Panel rejects an appeal the Student Appeal and Complaints Ombudsman shall be notified who will issue a 'Completion of Procedures letter' to the student.
(f) If you remain dissatisfied with the decision of the Access to Learning Fund Appeals Panel, you may complain to the Office of the independent Adjudicator for England and Wales (OIA). Details will be provided with the Completion of Procedural letter.
Where are we?
Student Support and Wellbeing Centre, Northumberland Building, City Campus
Student Support and Wellbeing Centre, Allendale Building, Coach Lane Campus
If you would like to speak to someone regarding your circumstances, please feel free to call into the office during the following hours:
Monday - Thursday 9.00am-4.30pm & Friday 9.00am-4.00pm
Alternatively, you may call us on 0191 227 4079
Our e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org