Skip navigation

Digital Inclusion Support Scheme

Please note that there have been significant changes to the eligibility criteria for the Digital Inclusion Support Scheme to ensure we are able to support students most in need.

We understand that students may be in difficult circumstances and digital exclusion has increased during the pandemic. We are providing support with a limited number of laptops for those who cannot otherwise access their online learning. This support is available for specific students from identified underrepresented groups in undergraduate study, who may also be experiencing financial hardship.

The Student Inclusion team are working in collaboration with both IT and Ask4Help, to ensure students receive support in a timely manner with minimal disruption to their studies.

Laptop Loan Schemes

The Students Union have launched a short-term loan scheme which enables you to loan a laptop for a maximum of 1 week. If you require the laptop for longer, you can renew your request via email once the initially loan period approaches the end with a maximum of a further 2 weeks loan available, however, this is subject to laptops being available, and any new requests they receive, may take priority. There is no minimum loan time but laptop returns need to be agreed in advance.

Click here for more information about applying for a short-term loan.

Open Access IT Hubs

As a result of continued change to government guidance, please click here for the most up-to-date announcement of opening hours and on-campus facilities available.

Software Queries and Requests

If you are in need of specialist software for your course, such as SPSS or Adobe Creative Cloud, you can download this via the Software Centre and you can find further information in the FAQs here.

If you need any further support with regards to this then please contact the IT Helpline

Students in Hardship

If you are unable to purchase a laptop due to financial hardship, but do not meet the Eligibility Criteria below, the university has alternative ways to support you. Please find further information about our financial support on our webpages here. In such circumstances, we recommend you get in touch with our Welfare, Immigration and Funding Team to discuss your circumstances rather than applying for this scheme.

Disability and Dyslexia

If you have a disability or long term medical/health condition then you should register with the Disability and Dyslexia Team rather than applying for this scheme. The Team will be able to provide you longer term support during your studies which can include the provision of specialist equipment. For more information, please visit the articles available on the Student Portal or the Teams webpage here.

Click here to raise a query on the Student Portal and arrange and appointment. Alternatively, you can email the Team at

Note - you must first log in to the Student Portal before accessing the direct link above.

Postgraduate Students

Applications from Postgraduate taught (PGT) students will be considered by exception. Postgraduate Research (PGR) students are unfortunately not eligible to apply.

If you are deemed not eligible, you will be directed to information about other support the university provides to PGT/PGR students.

Eligibility Criteria

Criteria Set 1


There is specific eligibility criteria to ensure we are supporting students most in need. You may be eligible if you are identified as belonging to one or more of the following student groups:


Care Leaver:

  • An undergraduate student under the age of 25 who is a care leaver has experience of being cared for by the local authority and has 'former relevant care leaver status' according to the Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000. This status applies to people under the age of 25 who were 'looked after' by the local authority for at least 13 weeks since the age of 14 and ending after the age of 16. Care leaver students may also have been privately fostered up to the age of 18. This arrangement must be for more than a two-month period, or have been the subject of a 'special guardianship order', 'kinships fostering' and were 'looked after' immediately prior to the making of the order.


  • Undergraduate students under the age of 25 who are ‘irreconcilably estranged’ from their parents and/or have had no contact with their parents for a period of 1 year on or before the first day of the academic year. Students who are estranged from their parent/s are assessed for their student funding by Student Loans Company (SLC) as independent due to estrangement.

Low Participation Neighbourhood (LPN) | (only relevant to UK undergraduate students, not PGT / PGR):

  • Higher Education Funding Council for England's (HEFCE) Participation of Local Areas (POLAR) classification is a UK-wide measure of educational disadvantage based on young participation rates in Higher Education (HE). It estimates how likely young people are to go into HE according to where they live and assigns local areas into quintiles. The population is split into five groups and assigned equally across five quintiles, where quintile 1 areas have the lowest rates of young participation and quintile 5 areas have the highest rates. This means that the quintile used in the classification applies to the local area and not to each individual.

    POLAR 4, Quintile 1 and 2, are classified as LPN by Northumbria University.

    To check your POLAR 4 quintile, click here and enter your non-term-time postcode.

Student with Caring Responsibilities:

  • A carer is anyone who has a commitment to providing unpaid care to a family member or friend who could not cope without their support. This may be due to illness, disability, a mental health issue, or substance misuse.

Student with a Household Income of Less than £25,000 | (only relevant to UK undergraduate students, not PGT / PGR):

  • "Your household income is your parents' or partner's income, plus yours." (Student Finance England, 2020).

    In order to apply to the scheme using Low Household Income criteria, you must also be eligible for the maximum maintenance loan and upload your 'Notification of Entitlement Letter' issued by Student Finance for the current academic year (2020-21), as part of your application to the scheme.

Student Seeking Asylum:

  • An asylum seeker is someone who has applied for refugee status and is waiting to find out if it has been granted. Click here for more information.


Criteria Set 2 | Only Relevant to UK Undergraduate Students, Nnot PGT / PGR)


You may also be eligible if you are identified as one or more of the following student groups with a household income of less than £42,641. "Your household income is your parents' or partner's income, plus yours." (SFE, 2020).

As part of this set of criteria, you must upload your 'Notification of Entitlement Letter' issued by Student Finance for the current academic year (2020-21).


Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic:

  • Students who are Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic.

Gypsy, Roma and Travelling Communities:

  • “The term ‘Gypsy, Roma and Traveller’ encompasses a wide range of individuals who may be defined in relation to their ethnicity, heritage, way of life and how they self-identify.

    This includes:

    • English or Welsh Romany Gypsies
    • European Roma
    • Irish Travellers
    • Scottish Gypsy Travellers
    • Showpeople such as people linked with fairground or circus professions
    • People living on barges or other boats
    • People living in settled (bricks and mortar) accommodation
    • New Age Travellers."
    (Office for Students, 2020).

Mature Student:

  • Students who are beginning stage one of undergraduate university study, aged 21 or above, on their first day of teaching and learning.

Apply Now

Contact Us




Tel: 01912274127


Current students can enquire via their student portal.

Back to top