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.


To apply:-

  • Canterbury students - please contact the Students' Union Advice Centre for an interview - telephone 01227 827 724 or email
  • Medway students - please contact the GK Unions student advisers for an interview - telephone 01634 888 989 or email

When you have obtained an interview date with the Advice Centre you should complete the 'Application for Support from the Access to Learning Fund' form.

When attending your interview you will need to produce the completed form together with all backup documentation relevant to your application as indicated in Part 11.

You will need to provide bank statements for three months prior to your application.


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

  • To apply, students must book an appointment with a student adviser for an interview (see Useful Contacts). Obtain and complete an application form. Please note that appointments can soon become fully booked and the final appointment dates for each term are listed in the table below.
  • When attending the interview students will need to provide the student adviser with their completed application form and all relevant supporting evidence.
  • After the interview, the student adviser will submit the completed application form, with all supporting documents, 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 without attending an interview. 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


11th January 2019

18th January 2019


3rd May 2019

10th May 2019


14th June 2019

21st June 2019


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 24th September 2018 for the 2018 / 2019 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: 18/01/2019