Make financial hardship grant available to those in financial hardship
A grant, called the Access to Learning Fund (ALF), which is supposed to be reserved for those students who face financial hardship to assist their studies, may be denied to postgraduate students if their income does not exceed £205.00 per week (in London).
This amount is called the 'notional postgraduate income' (NLP) and if you do not have this amount the government claims you have not made realistic provision to fund your living costs whilst studying, and you are not entitled to ALF.
This fund is given to universities by the government to assist those from low-income backgrounds; yet points 4.80 to 4.93 of the ALF Eligibility Criteria and Assessment Guidelines set by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and exclude those students from the lowest-income backgrounds from receiving ALF.
Please see link to the relevant section: http://www.practitioners.slc.co.uk/media/638366/alf_chapter_4_201314.pdf
We, the undersigned, request that the Secretary of State Rt. Hon Dr. Vince Cable and Minister of State for Universities and Science, Innovation, Space , Rt. Hon David Willett MP raise our concerns regarding the unfair distribution of ALF funding in the House of Commons; with a view to either,
• Lower the NLP in 4.93 of the ALF Eligibility Criteria and Assessment Guidelines, or
• Eliminate the NLP in 4.80 Eligibility Criteria and Assessment Guidelines in place of a cap.
A cap would necessitate that those students who have more than a certain amount of living allowance per week will not be eligible for ALF.
Either of these steps will help to ensure that students from lower income backgrounds are made eligible for a fund designed for students from lower income backgrounds; removing financial barriers and creating equal access to higher education for all.
The Make financial hardship grant available to those in financial hardship petition to David Willetts (conservative MP) was written by Ellese Elliott and is in the category Education at GoPetition.