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Support for HE students


Before applying for assistance, please read these guidance notes very carefully.
The notes are divided into several sections (shown below). If you still require clarification before submitting
your application form please contact the Student Financial Support Team on 01709 362111 ext. 2877.
General notes
 How to complete the application form
 Details of information required
 Information on how your application will be assessed
 Timetable for making a decision
 How to Apply
 How to appeal
Your application will not be considered until it is fully completed and all the necessary documentary
evidence has been received.

Your application form will be returned to you if:
 you have not completed all relevant sections
 you have not included all necessary photocopied documentation
What is the Access to Learning Fund?
The Access to Learning Fund provides discretionary financial assistance for learners to help them access
and remain in higher education – particularly those learners who need financial help to meet extra costs
that cannot be met from other sources of support. Learners who may be considering leaving higher
education because of financial problems are particularly encouraged to apply. You can apply to the Fund at
any point throughout the academic year. Any help you receive from the Fund is, usually, non repayable.
Learners who may previously have received support from the College Access Fund may not necessarily
receive an award from the Access to Learning Fund.
ALF Bursaries ALF Bursaries may be available to learners, these can be used to help to alleviate
unexpected financial hardship, learners should call at Student Services to discuss the availability and
criteria for ALG Bursaries.
Help with Tuition Fees
In most cases, the Fund cannot help with paying for tuition fees. Instead, if you are a full time or part time
undergraduate student you can apply for help from your Local Education Authority (LEA).
How Your Application for Assistance from ALF will be Assessed
Your application will be treated either as a ‘standard’ or a ‘non standard’ claim. We will assess ‘standard’
applications by looking at the difference between accepted reasonable expenditure and expected income.
If you have unforeseen circumstances, your application can be considered under a ‘non-standard’
The assessment process for ‘standard’ and ‘non-standard’ awards is designed to identify learners who have
particular financial needs and those who are in unforeseen financial difficulty. This should result in most of
the available funding being directed towards learners with a low income and those who have exceptionally
high course related costs.
G/Drive Funding 07/08 ALF notes 07/08         Revision 0                           Rosie Armstrong updated June 2007
The Access to Learning Fund is for ‘home’ learners registered on a Rotherham College of Arts and
Technology course in the following category:

   Undergraduate students, either full time or part time, including part time distance learners, following a
    higher education course, including sandwich courses and any periods of placement.
Learners on courses franchised to the College or delivered in partnership with a University must apply to
the parent institution Fund and must contact them for an application form and further information
A ‘home’ student is defined as a person who meets certain residency conditions (the same conditions
apply to eligibility for student support, for example, the student loan). Usually this means you must have an
unrestricted right to enter and remain in the UK, and you have been ordinarily resident in the UK for three
years prior to the start of the course. None of this time must have been wholly or mainly for the purpose of
receiving full time education. If you need further information on the residency rules please speak to one of
the advisory staff members. Overseas and EU learners and Asylum Seekers cannot apply to the Access to
Learning Fund.
A full time course = 120 credit points in an academic year or equivalent.
A part time course = 50% of a full time course
Disabled learners, whose disability prevents them from studying at least 50% of a full time course, may
apply for the Access to Learning Fund if they are studying at least 25% of a full time course.
Priorities for Assistance
The Fund is there to help any eligible student who has a particular financial need but we cannot meet every
application we receive and we cannot always meet all of the costs that you might apply for. The Government
asks us to give priority to the following groups of learners when deciding how to allocate the funding:

   Learners with children (especially lone parents)
   Learners who are self-funding and not in receipt of sponsorship or other funding (postgraduate
   Disabled learners (especially where the DSA is unable to meet particular costs)
   Part time undergraduate students in receipt of the maximum amount of the statutory support
    package and course grant relevant to the intensity of the course in 2007/08.
If you are not in one of the priority groups you can still apply but you must provide as much evidence as
possible to show why you have a particular need.
If an application for assistance has been rejected and you wish to reapply, you must show a significant
change in your circumstances since your original application. You will also be asked to provide
documentary evidence for the change in circumstance.
If you experience financial difficulties during the summer vacation you may be able to apply to the Fund for
additional help. Please contact the Student Financial Support Team on 01709 362111 ext.2877 for further details.
Short Term Loans from the Access to Learning Fund
If you have not received your student loan cheque/BACs payment from the Student Loans Company at the
start of term, you can apply for an interim loan from the Access to Learning Fund. You will be expected to
repay this loan when your first student loan instalment arrives. You should make clear in the supporting
statement on the application form, if you are applying for a short term loan.
Disabled Learners
Disabled learners, especially those with dyslexia, can apply for help towards the cost of their preliminary
diagnostic test, prior to applying for a Disabled Students Allowance. You will need to complete the disability
section on the application form if you want to apply for this.
Information on How Your Application will be Assessed
Standard awards can help to meet course related costs such as childcare, travel, books and field trips.
Non-standard awards can help to meet exceptional costs, such as repairs to essential household
equipment, high costs for learners dependent on continuing medication and assistance with priority debts.
Emergency situations (including travel costs for family illness or bereavement and hardship due to burglary
or fire) can also be considered under the non standard award assessment. In addition to these examples,
G/Drive Funding 07/08 ALF notes 07/08          Revision 0                          Rosie Armstrong updated June 2007
costs for disabled learners not met by the Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) can be considered. Where a
student is seriously considering withdrawing from HE, because financial difficulties are preventing them
from continuing on their course, administrators can consider making a payment to the student under the
non standard award assessment.
Timetable for Making a Decision
Provided your application form has been accurately completed and the appropriate documentary evidence
supplied, an assessment and decision should be made within 4 working weeks of submission. You should
also normally expect to receive a payment in this time. However, in some cases, we may need to defer your
initial payment beyond 4 weeks to deal with a particular circumstance. If this applies to your application we
will let you know in advance.
If you are requesting an emergency loan or other short-term help, applications should be processed and
paid within 1 working week and depending on your situation may be processed and paid within 24 hours.
How to Apply
You should apply submitting an Access To Learning Fund application form, which you can get from College
main reception. Your application should be submitted by the following dates*:
Applications covering:                  AUTUMN TERM       by Friday 26th October 2007
                                        SPRING TERM       by Friday 8th February 2008
                                        SUMMER TERM       by Friday 23rd May 2008
Applicants are advised that payments from the Access to Learning Fund may have implications for their
entitlement to Social Security benefits. Learners who receive help from the Fund will be given a document
to present to their local JobCentre Plus / Housing Benefit office to help them in claiming benefits.
The Access to Learning Fund can also offer short term help to continuing learners at the start of the new
academic year (usually September) for those whose Income Support has stopped and Housing Benefit has
been reduced but who cannot yet receive their student loan and supplementary grants.
If you have any questions or would like further information please speak to a Student Advisor.
It is important that supporting documentation is enclosed with your application form which MUST include
evidence of all benefits, grants and awards which you are claiming, including Student Loans.
Before submitting an application you must have maximised your income by taking out the full student
support funding available to you by applying to your LEA Student Support Office. If you have applied for
support through your LEA and your application was unsuccessful, you must attach evidence. We cannot
usually accept original documents and you are therefore asked to supply legible photocopies. In certain
circumstances you may be contacted separately by the Access to Learning Fund Administrator and asked
to supply relevant original documents. Applications that do not have supporting documents are incomplete
and cannot be processed. These forms will be returned to you, which will delay your application.
Answer all questions on the application form by printing clearly in black ink or by ticking the appropriate boxes.
How to Appeal
Applicants refused support have the right of appeal. This appeal should be made in writing, within 10 days
of the College’s decision, to the Student Financial Support Committee.
Wherever possible, appeals will to be heard within 10 working days. Decisions will be confirmed in writing
within 3 working days. The Committee’s decision is final.

Application Forms and Guidance Notes may be obtained in person from Student Services or down
loaded from the college Portal.

G/Drive Funding 07/08 ALF notes 07/08            Revision 0                            Rosie Armstrong updated June 2007

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