Student Finance

Access to Learning Fund (ALF)

The Access to Learning Fund (ALF) provides discretionary financial assistance for UK students to 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.

Each year Kent allocates an amount of money for ALF. This enables us to support students who are struggling financially. ALF monies can be awarded as a short term loan but are usually paid as a grant. The amount will depend on your circumstances and how many applications the fund receives.

Students should be aware that ALF is intended to act as a safety net for those in financial difficulty, rather than a main source of income. Overseas and EU (other than UK) students are not eligible to apply.


Appointments will be available for Term 1 ALF applications from 12th October 2020.

To apply:-

  • Canterbury students - please contact the Students' Union Advice Centre via the contact form.
  • Medway students - please contact the GK Unions Advice Centre via the contact form.

Once you have been in contact with the Advice Centre they will provide you with guidance on the application process, including the application form and supporting evidence you will need to provide.

Currently the application process is via email only due to Covid-19 and our offices being closed.


The fund is strictly limited, therefore there can be no guarantee that you will receive a payment.

If your application is successful, your award will be paid by BACS, into your nominated bank account.

ALF Grants

How to make an Access to Learning Fund Application:


Once the student adviser has received the completed application form, with all supporting documents, they will submit it to the Financial Aid Office (FAO) before 10am on the submission deadline dates listed in the table below. Please note that students CANNOT submit their applications & / or supporting evidence directly to the FAO. Also that an application can only be submitted to the FAO by the student adviser once it is fully complete with all relevant supporting evidence.


Final Appointment Date

Submission Deadline Date


15th January 2021

22nd January 2021


7th May 2021

14th May 2021


18th June 2021

25th June 2021


For further information, please refer to the Information Sheet and Guidance Chapters below.

Bridging Payments

Students who are in their second or subsequent years, who have been receiving benefits during the summer vacation, can receive a payment, before enrolment, to bridge the gap between their benefits stopping and when they receive the first instalment of their financial support.

To apply for a Bridging Payment, please download an application form and the guidance notes. You will then need to make an appointment with the Kent Union Advice Centre and take your completed application form, along with any evidence required, with you to your appointment.

Emergency Short Term Loans

Emergency Short Term Loans (ESTL), from the Access to Learning Fund, are available to Home UK students who have made their application to Student Finance England, but who have yet to receive their first instalment of their funding.

Students who are experiencing a delay in receiving the first instalment of their Student Finance may be able to apply for a loan of up to £80 per week to cover living costs, until their student funding is available.

Applications will open from 28th September 2020 for the 2020/2021 academic year.


Useful Links

Kent Union Advice Centre



Finance Department, The Registry, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NZ

Contact us - Students | Staff | External, or Fax: +44(0)1227 827024

Last Updated: 17/09/2020