Student in Bower Ashton library

Learner Support Fund

The information below is for current students in the 2017/18 academic year.

UWE Bristol will provide a significant fund to support you if you are a UK undergraduate or postgraduate student and have extra costs or financial problems while studying at the University.

When does the Learner Support Fund open?

The UWE Learner Support Fund opens to applications from 18 September 2017 and closes on 15 June 2018.

Please note: the closing date may be earlier than 15 June 2018 if the fund is spent before this date. If you wish to make an application, please consider applying as soon as you can.

The Summer Fund will open on 25 June 2018 to support students over the vacation period.

Am I eligible to apply?

To be eligible you must be:

  • registered on a designated award for the current academic year
  • charged tuition fees as a UK resident (or 'home') student.

EU and international students are not usually eligible unless receiving UK government funding for living costs. If you are unsure whether you are considered a 'home' (or UK-resident) student, please see the online guidance to determine your fee status.

  • in receipt of all government funding available to you
  • if you are a postgraduate student, or you already have a higher education qualification (ELQ) and so are not entitled to government funding for your undergraduate course, you need to have income that covers your living and housing costs before we can consider you for an award (living costs: £78 per week for a single student, £122 per week for a couple plus £72 per week for each dependent child).

Part-time students

If you are a part-time UK resident student, you are eligible to apply if you are studying at least 30 credits.

I study at one of the Federation Colleges. Am I eligible to apply?

It will depend on whether you are considered a UWE Bristol student. If you are not, you will need to apply to your Federation College for support. If you are unsure whether you are considered a UWE Bristol student, please email mafs@uwe.ac.uk, including your student number and we can check before you apply.

How can I apply?

Online applications

You can apply online via an InfoHub form from 18 September 2017.

Please read the information on this page carefully to check that you are eligible to apply before submitting an application. You must complete the application in full.

Once you have completed the form, you will be required to submit your supporting evidence as soon as possible. Your application will not be considered until we receive your evidence. This includes three months of statements for all bank, building society, savings and ISA accounts and a BACS form which will be emailed to you upon submission. There are two stages to the application form: the ‘Eligibility checker’ and the ‘Application form’ itself. Please ensure you complete both forms.

If you need any guidance or experience problems with the online application, please contact us at mafs@uwe.ac.uk or on +44(0)117 32 85678.

Can the funds help with tuition fees?

The funds cannot help with tuition fees. Fees will not be included as expenditure, even if you have to pay the fees yourself due to repeat or prior study.

Will I receive an award?

The funds are there to help any eligible student who has a particular financial need. We compare your income to essential expenditure and if there is a shortfall we will make an award. We cannot meet the entire shortfall for every application we receive, so we prioritise applications from students who are unable to work part-time to supplement their student funding.

Priority groups considered for funding

We give priority to the following groups of students:

  • lone student parents
  • students with disabilities
  • care leavers
  • carers
  • students who have recently left supported housing or estranged students.

Final year students are also encouraged to apply.

How are applications assessed?

Previous applications to these funds were processed in line with the preceding government approved Access to Learning Fund (ALF) guidance. We now follow the approved National Association of Student Money Advisers (NASMA) guidance which is based on the preceding guidance with some local adjustments.

We look at the difference between 'reasonable' expenditure and income so we need information about your finances and if you live with a partner, their finances as well. For example:

  • Income
    Student funding such as the Living Cost Loan, Maintenance Grant or NHS Bursary, child and working tax credit and other benefits, teacher training salary, savings, maintenance, earnings, and family contribution.
  • Expenditure
    Rent/mortgage payments, childcare costs, disability costs, travel costs and course costs.

Once you have given us all the information we need, your application will be assessed for either a 'standard' or 'nonstandard’ award (see below). If your expenditure is greater than your income (ie you have a shortfall), then we may be able to give you an award. This will rarely cover the total shortfall. For example, if you are a single student without dependents or disabilities, the award will represent 50% of your assessed shortfall. For priority groups, we aim to meet 100% of the shortfall, subject to maximum awards.

Standard awards

These awards can help to meet general costs of being a full-time student such as rent, mortgage, and travel.

For full-time undergraduate students without children or a disability, we assume an income of up to £1,869 on top of your funding (up to £623 for final year students). This amount represents earnings from part-time work, any additional support from parents, partners, bank overdrafts or savings etc. 

For full-time postgraduate students, or students that already have a higher education qualification (ELQ) and are not eligible for student finance funding, a weekly income of £78 for single students, £122 for couples plus £72 for each dependent child plus one week’s rent is assumed.

There is a set weekly expenditure figure for general living costs based on benefit rates (excluding travel, accommodation and course costs). For example, £78 per week is set as a reasonable budget for a single student.

Non-standard awards

These awards cover exceptional costs, such as childcare, repairs to essential household equipment, priority debts, travel for family bereavements or illness, and costs arising from emergency situations such as burglary or fire.

When will I receive a decision?

We aim to process applications within 20 working days of receipt of a complete application with evidence. We will advise the outcome of your application by email to your UWE Bristol email address.

How much might I receive?

The Learner Support Fund is a limited pot of money, so even where there is a shortfall between income and expenditure, the award may only cover part of that shortfall. This is so we can help as many students as possible throughout the academic year.

However, applications are dealt with in date of receipt order and the fund may close early if the fund is exhausted.

Awards of between £50 and £4,000 are made. If an award is over £1,000, then it is paid in two, three or four instalments over the academic year. All payments will be made directly in to your bank account.

I am in financial hardship temporarily due to unforeseen circumstances. Where can I get help?

UWE Bristol runs a short-term loan scheme. View details on the short-term loan scheme.

I am in exceptional financial hardship. Where can I get help?

Any students who are experiencing exceptional financial hardship which will prevent them from attending or continuing on their course should contact a Money Adviser.

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