What is the Access to Learning Fund ?
The Access to Learning Fund provides discretionary financial assistance for students to help them access and remain in Higher Education – particularly those students who need financial help to meet extra costs that cannot be met from other sources of support. The Fund can help to alleviate unexpected financial hardship. Students who may be considering leaving higher education because of financial hardship are particularly encouraged to apply. The Fund can be used for course related costs such as childcare, books, equipment, travel or for general living costs such as rent. Any help you receive from the fund is usually non-repayable.
Help with Tuition Fees
If you are a full-time student, the Fund cannot award payments to help you pay your tuition fees. If you are a full-time or part-time undergraduate student you should apply for help from your Local Education Authority. (LA).
If you are a part-time student and you are in receipt of a partial fee grant and course grant you can apply to the Access to Learning Fund for Additional Fee Support (AFSS). Further information about AFSS is detailed on the Advice leaflet.
Who can apply ?
You must meet certain residency requirements to qualify for help from the Fund. The application form will provide you with more details.
All UK Undergraduate students who are receiving support from their Local Authority are eligible to apply. If you are studying part-time you must be on a course that is 50% of a full-time equivalent course. If you are a full-time student you should have taken out the full amount of student loan that you are eligible for and have received your first instalment prior to applying for help. If you are an overseas student you are not eligible to apply to the Fund. We are asked by the Government to give priority to the following groups of students:
Students in their final year
Students with children
Mature students, especially those with existing financial commitments
Students from low-income families
Students who have entered HE from care
Students from Foyers or who are homeless
If you are not in one of the priority groups you can still apply but you must provide as much evidence to show why you have a particular need.
Emergency Loans from the Fund
If you have not received your first instalment of student loan from the Student Loans Company at the start of term, because you have not yet received your financial assessment from your Local Authority, you can apply for a short-term loan from the Access to Learning Fund. You will be expected to repay this loan within a six week deadline or when your first instalment of student loan arrives. To apply for a loan you should contact the Students Union and make an appointment to see Janet Galligan, the Advice Unit Co-ordinator.
Disabled students, especially those with Dyslexia, can apply for help towards the cost of a preliminary diagnostic test prior to applying for a Disabled Students' Allowance. You should make an appointment with one of the Disability Advisers on Telephone 01204 903733.
If you are not attending your course for health reasons or because of caring responsibilities or any other unavoidable situation and you have not permanently withdrawn from your course you can apply for help from the fund.
You should submit supporting evidence with your application to the fund. The application form will provide you with a list of evidence that is required with each application. Please note that we do not accept original copies and you will be expected to photocopy all evidence.
Applications that do not provide full supporting evidence will be returned to the student and this may delay your application.
How to apply
You can apply for help from the fund at any time during the academic year. An application pack can be obtained from Student Services, Student Centre, The University of Bolton, Chancellor's Mall, Deane Road, Bolton, BL3 5AB or Telephone 01204 903733 to speak to one of the Student Advisers.
How long will the assessment take
Depending on when you apply to the fund and your individual financial situation we aim to make a payment from the fund within 4 working weeks. If your application form is incomplete, it could take longer than this. If you are applying for an Emergency Loan, you will normally receive a payment within 48 hours.
You can appeal against the written decision we give you, this appeal must be submitted in writing to the Head of Student Services within 14 days. Please note there are limited grounds of appeal.
To help avoid getting into financial difficulty it is important that you budget effectively. You can make an appointment to speak to the Student Funding Adviser on Telephone 01204 903497.