Access to Learning Fund (ALF)

Each year Kent allocates an amount of money for the Access to Learning Fund (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.

Who can apply?

The summer vacation Access to Learning Fund is available to UK 'Home' fee paying students and covers the period 20 June 2022 to 25 September 2022.

You can make one application in the summer vacation if you have been registered & in attendance during the 2021 / 2022 academic year and you meet the eligibility criteria set out in the Information sheet.

You also need to meet one or more of the following criteria:

• You are a continuing franchise student still in the final term of this academic year.

• You have children – for those eligible for means-tested benefits a bridging loan may be paid if you are waiting for your benefit payments to be assessed.

• You are retaking/re-sitting elements of your course either in or out of attendance across the summer.

• You are ill or have a disability and unable to undertake work, and for whom other benefits are not available.

• You have no alternative substantial means of support where the adviser is satisfied that you are unable to get alternative funding.

Applications made on or after 1 August 2022 will be for the 2022 / 2023 ALF year.

Overseas and EU (other than UK) students are not eligible to apply.

What is the financial support offered through ALF?

The amount of any grant made depends on the students individual circumstances. It is assessed using a financial shortfall calculator (FSC) from the information provided by the student. If there is a shortfall students will be awarded a grant.        

How do I apply for ALF?

The Summer Vacation ALF application process will open on Monday 20 June 2022.

For information on the application process visit the Kent Union Access to Learning Fund page.

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.

Once the student adviser has received the completed application form with all supporting documents, they will submit it to the Financial Aid Office before 10.00am on the submission deadline dates for each term as listed in the Information Sheet. 

Are there any exemptions or things to be aware of when applying?

The deadline for submitting a completed summer vacation application is 9 September 2022.

Students must apply through the Kent Union and cannot submit their application or supporting evidence to the Financial Aid Office.

This is a limited fund and applicants are means tested, so there can be no guarantee that you will receive a payment. 

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. 

The Fund cannot be used to meet the cost of tuition fees for any undergraduate or post-graduate student.

Applicants are advised that payments from the Access to Learning Fund may have implications for their entitlement to means-tested state benefits. Students who receive help from the Fund can be supplied with a letter to present to their local JobCentre Plus / Housing Benefit office to help their claim for benefits if necessary.     

When and how will I find out if my application has been successful?

Once the completed application form and all the relevant evidence has been submitted to the student adviser, the application will be submitted to the Financial Aid Office. An assessment and decision will normally be made within 20 working days of the Financial Aid Office receiving the completed application. If your application is successful, you can usually expect to receive a payment within this time period. If for any reason we need to defer your initial payment beyond this 20 working day period we will let you know. 

Awards will be paid by BACS into an account nominated by the student.        

Can I appeal if my ALF application is unsuccessful?

Students who are unsuccessful in their application may appeal against the decision. However, appeals against amounts awarded will not be considered.

Appeals should only be made if there is no change of circumstances to the original application. If you have experienced a change of circumstances since your original application, please contact a student adviser to discuss submitting a new application based on this change.

See the information sheet for further information about how to appeal.      

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