Access to Learning Fund (Hardship Fund)

Access to Learning Fund (Hardship Fund)

 

  • The University Hardship Fund is called the Access to Learning Fund

  • It is a non-repayable grant administered by The University of Worcester to help eligible students who are experiencing financial difficulties

  • In particular help is given to students who may be financially disadvantaged



Eligibility


Who can apply?

You must be a Home or EU (but not non-EU International) student as defined by Student Finance England, registered on a course at the University of Worcester or registered as a University of Worcester Student at a Partner College, but not including ‘Direct Funding’ students who pay fees directly to the Partner College.

A Home student is defined as a person who meets certain residency conditions (the same conditions apply to eligibility for statutory student support, for example, for the student Maintenance Loan).

An EU student is normally defined as someone who is an EU national, who has lived in the EEA or Switzerland for three years or more before their course starts and was living in the UK on the first day of their course.


Please note, the Access to Learning Fund is limited and not all applicants will receive financial help or cover for their entire financial shortfall.


FAQ'S


Q. Is it only for Undergraduate students?

A. You can apply if you are an Undergraduate or Postgraduate student.


Q. Is it only for full time students?

A. You can apply if you are studying full time, part time, or as a distance learner.
Part time students who commenced their course before September 2012 must be studying at a minimum rate of 50% of a full time course in order to be eligible. However, disabled students whose disability prevents them from studying at least 50% of a full time course, may apply.
Part time students who commenced their course on or after September 2012 must be studying at a minimum rate of 25% of a full time course in order to be eligible.


Q. I am getting an NHS/ Social Work Bursary, can I still apply?

A. Yes - Healthcare & Social Work students who receive either a means tested or non means-tested NHS bursary are eligible to apply to the Fund.


Q. My parents have good jobs – does this mean I can’t get help from the fund?

A. Not necessarily – the fund looks at your financial situation not your parents, it is still worthwhile applying.


Q.  My partner is working – does this mean I can’t get help?

A. You should still apply – If your partner lives with you we will consider their income and outgoings as part of the assessment.


Q. I have intercalated – can I still apply?

A. Yes, Students on Leave of Absence who have not permanently withdrawn from studies and intend to return after time out, are eligible to apply for help from the Fund. e.g. if you are unable to attend your course for health or caring reasons or for some other unavoidable circumstance you can apply for help.


Q. I am not sure that the Fund is for me – should I apply?

A. Yes – The only way to find out for sure is by applying. The worst that can happen is that you are not given an award but this will not stop you from applying again in the future and the best that can happen is that you are awarded some money, so you really have nothing to lose by applying. You can also make an appointment with a University Money Adviser to discuss your eligibility and application.



How to Apply

 



Application forms, which include more details and conditions of eligibility, are available throughout the year from the Students’ Union and firstpoint at the St Johns campus, Worcester.


Alternatively you can download a copy to print and complete by clicking on the link to the left of this page.

There is also a fillable form version of the application form which you can access by clicking on the relevant link to the left of this page.

The 2017/18 Access to Learning Fund is open from September 2017 - August 2018

 

 

Points to Remember

  • Applicants must already have started their course.
  • All the supporting evidence requested in the application form MUST be provided, or the application will be returned unprocessed, so delaying the student's application.
  • Students must have applied for all the financial support to which they are entitled, including the maximum Student Loans, Grants & allowances following financial assessment by Student Finance, a Postgraduate Loan or a Professional Career Development Loan as appropriate, and any Welfare Benefits or Tax Credits that they (or their partner) are entitled to.
  • The fund is limited and cannot always make up the whole of a student's financial short fall.
  • The fund cannot be used to help students pay their tuition fees.
  • For more information about the fund or to make an appointment with a Money Adviser for help with completing the application, telephone firstpoint on 01905 542551 or email firstpoint@worc.ac.uk  
  • Students' Union Student Adviser Kate Gynn will also help with the completion of application forms - for an appointment email k.gynn@worc.ac.uk

  

Change of Circumstances

If you have already received an award from the Access to Learning Fund within the academic year but have experienced a change of circumstances which you feel may warrant a further award, you should complete a "Change of Circumstances Form" and submit it with the relevant supporting evidence.

Please note: it would need to be a significant change in circumstances which has occurred after your first award from the fund.

For example:

  • A new unexpected cost such as essential car repairs, replacement of essential household goods, unexpected bill etc.
  • Loss of income – for example due to redundancy, reduction in working hours, illness, change to Welfare Benefits or a change to your student income.
  • Financial pressure caused by relationship breakdown.
  • Increase in costs due to change in your studies, for example increased placement travel costs or increased childcare costs.

A copy of the Change of Circumstances form with be available on this webpage shortly.