Access to Learning Fund (ALF)
Access to Learning Fund (ALF) is discretionary financial support for those able to demonstrate genuine financial hardship. It is a government fund that is administered by Financial Information and Assistance according to strict guidelines. It is intended to help those who have made adequate plans to cover their living expenses and through unforeseen circumstances are in financial hardship that would, without help, force them to withdraw from their studies.
ALF can be used to help with living costs including childcare, disability, travel, accommodation, household expenses, books and course equipment. Full-time ‘home’ undergraduate and postgraduate students and part-time students studying at least 50% of a full-time course can apply if they have taken advantage of all other funding available to them. However the following groups of students are a priority for help from the Access to Learning Fund:
- Disabled students - especially where the Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) is unable to meet particular costs and the institution has no legal responsibility to do so
- Care Leavers
- Students from Foyers or who are homeless
- Final Year students
- Students with children, especially lone parents
- Other mature students, especially those with certain – but not all – pre-existing financial commitments
Students are assessed on an individual basis for the academic year that they are studying within and should not rely on the Fund as a continuing source of income. Receipt of an award in one year does not guarantee an award in following years nor can the amount received be expected in subsequent applications. The percentage of shortfall paid by the institution may vary and could be reduced in the future.
ALF cannot help students meet the cost of tuition fees, or those who have mismanaged their finances and have simply run out of money. It also cannot compensate for the lack of parental contribution, especially where a student has only been able to take the non-means tested element of the Student Loan. There is also a government expectation that students will undertake part time work and this is included in the assessment of your eligibility for funding.
There is more detailed information about the Access to Learning Fund available on SUSSED as part of the Student Resource Network. Please consult this information before contacting FIA.