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Salford Support Fund

hardship

The Salford Support Fund (formerly the Access to Learning Fund) is provided by the University and is used, in line with NASMA guidance, to assist students who are experiencing financial difficulties during the academic year and/or considering leaving higher education because of financial problems.

It can provide non-repayable awards to students experiencing hardship as a result of ongoing financial difficulties or one off, unexpected essential expenditure.

Each application is assessed individually against set criteria and is based on evidence provided, there is no guarantee that an applicant will receive funding and there is no automatic entitlement to a payment from the Fund. The Salford Support Fund is a cash limited fund which is subject to early closure in the event of funding coming to an end.

The Salford Support Fund is also supported by charitable donations from alumni of the University who give to the Salford Advantage Fund in support of current students.

Before making an application to the Salford Support Fund students must have accessed all other sources of funding available to them; this includes using any savings, financial support from family and utilising any interest free overdrafts available to them.


If you are registered on a Higher Education course and meet the residency criteria you will be eligible. A quick indication of whether you are eligible is if you receive the student maintenance loan. The eligibility criteria are the same, so if you have been awarded a student maintenance loan, you will be eligible to apply to the Salford Support Fund.

Full-time undergraduates: you must have applied for, and received the first instalment of, either the student loan or NHS Bursary (or both). You must have applied for, and accepted, the full amount that you are entitled to.

Postgraduates: you must be following a course that is a minimum of one year and you will need to show that you had enough funds or income at the start of the course to provide for all of your fees and essential living costs.

Please note: A Notional Postgraduate Income will be included in all postgraduate assessments to account for funding we would expect all students to have in place to support themselves during their studies.

Part-time students: you must be studying at least 50% of a full-time course (60 credits) if your course began before 1st September 2012 or 25% (30 credits) if you begin on or after 1st September 2012.

Residency criteria:

If you are receiving a Student Loan or Part Time Grant, you will be eligible to apply to the Salford Support Fund.

You are likely to be eligible to apply to the Salford Support Fund if:
  • you are paying the “home” tuition fee rate, and
  • you were “settled” in the UK on the first day of the first academic year of your course, and
  • you have been ordinarily resident in the UK and Islands for the 3 years immediately before the start of your course, other than wholly or mainly for the purpose of full-time education


You may still be eligible, even if you do not satisfy the residence criteria above, if you fall into one of the following groups:

  • EU nationals
  • Refugees, their spouses /civil partners, children or stepchildren
  • Persons who have been informed by the Home Office that although they do not qualify as a refugee, they have been granted Humanitarian Protection, their spouses /civil partners, children or stepchildren
  • EEA or Swiss migrant workers, their spouses /civil partners, children or stepchildren
  • Child of Swiss national
  • Child of Turkish Worker


EU nationals are not normally eligible for help from the Salford Support Fund unless they have lived in the UK or Islands for the three years prior to the start of their course (regardless of whether that was for the purposes of education) and they are living in England, Northern Ireland or Wales at the start of the course (this is 1st September for a course that starts in the Autumn

For more information on residency eligibility, go to Student Finance England Residency Criteria website for Student Finance or please contact askUS on 0161 295 0023

The Salford Support Fund is generally intended to help with essential living costs or unexpected financial emergencies and cannot be used to assist with non-priority debts such as credit card or personal loan repayments, nor can the fund be used to pay tuition fees.

There are two basic types of hardship awards made from the Salford Support Fund: ‘standard’ and ‘non-standard’. Standard awards are those made to help with general living costs. We do this by using an income/expenditure process which is done by calculating the level of income against the level of essential expenditure to determine if a student has an ‘additional need’. The fund may then be able to contribute towards a proportion of this ‘additional need’.

A small number of students may be faced with unforeseen or exceptional circumstances, such as essential household repairs, emergency situations, court actions for which we may be able to make a discretionary ‘non-standard’ award as a one-off contribution towards these costs.

Money from the Salford Support Fund is paid on top of the standard student finance package and cannot be used as a substitute for it. As a student, you are expected to apply for all the loans, grants and bursaries (as appropriate) to which you are entitled, before asking for help from the Salford Support Fund.

Awards from the Salford Support Fund are means tested on each student’s personal income and expenditure and as such you are not guaranteed to receive a Salford Support Fund Award.

Some awards may be paid in instalments during the academic year; this is intended to enable students to budget more effectively during their studies.

The Salford Support Fund will be open for applications from all part-time and full-time students from 9am on Monday 26th September 2016 until 5pm on Friday 7th July 2017 with the exception of:

Final year students: applications must be received before 5pm on Friday 12th May 2017.

 

March Starters: Students who start their course in March each academic year are assessed in two parts; from March to September for the first part of their academic year and then from September to March for the second part of the year. March starters will therefore need to reapply to the fund to be assessed for the second part of their year. Applications must still be made during the normal opening dates of the fund as stated above.

The Salford Support Fund is cash limited and therefore we cannot guarantee funds will last through the whole year and may be subject to early closure.

Please click here for information on how to apply to the Salford Support Fund.
You cannot normally submit a second application during the same academic year unless there is a significant change in your financial circumstances.

Who is eligible?

To be eligible to apply for a reassessment you must:
  • have already made a first application in academic year 2015/16 and
  • still be enrolled on and attending a course at the University of Salford and
  • have had a major change of circumstances since your original application or
  • have emergency costs or unforeseen essential expenditure or
  • have been informed that some evidence of essential expenditure was missing from your original application and you now wish to produce that evidence.


Change of Circumstances

You may reapply on the basis of a change in circumstances if you can demonstrate that a significant decrease in regular income or a significant increase in essential expenditure has taken place since your original application to the fund. Examples of such changes may be the loss of partner’s earnings or a major increase in travel costs due to moving home.

Emergency Situations

You may reapply on the basis of having to meet unforeseen essential expenditure or emergency costs which have been incurred since your original application. Examples of such costs might be emergency car repairs or housing costs if forced to leave your home after a relationship breakdown.

Missing Evidence

If your first application did not take account of all your essential expenditure and you were informed that this was due to a lack of evidence, you may reapply if you can now supply that evidence.

How long will a decision take?

We aim to give you a decision in writing within 4 weeks of receiving your re-application. However, you will have to wait longer if you do not supply the relevant evidence. Please note that we are unable to give the results of applications over the telephone.

How do I reapply?

In order to reapply you must first contact a member of the Salford Support Fund Team by emailing salfordsupportfund@salford.ac.uk outlining the reasons for your reapplication. If you are eligible you will then be sent a link to the reapplication form.

Stage 1 – Assessment Review

If you are not happy with the outcome of your assessment then you can ask to have your assessment reviewed. To request that your assessment decision be reviewed you need to fill out a short form explaining the reasons for wanting a review of the area of your assessment that needs reviewing.

This will then be considered by the Review Panel who will meet once every 2 weeks to look at these cases. The panel will decide if there is additional evidence that needs including or if any amendments need making to the original assessment.

The Review Panel is made up of three staff members from various teams within the Student Support Services.

You can find the Review form here

Reviews can be requested if you feel that there has been a mistake made within your assessment or if relevant information has been missed out. This includes submitting evidence that was not available at the time of assessment if applicable. Applications will not be sent for review if the reason is purely due to being disappointed with the outcome. Please note that capped figures and the treatment of debt as set out in our guidance cannot be changed.

Stage 2 – Formal Appeal

If after the outcome of the Review Panel, you are still not happy with your assessment decision then you are entitled to make a formal appeal.

There are two grounds on which a student can formally appeal the decision:

  • The approved procedures for the allocation of the Salford Support Fund were not followed or
  • A decision was made that was not supported by the evidence submitted

A student who wishes to appeal against a Salford Support Fund decision must do so on an Appeal Form within 15 working days of the date on the decision letter or the date of your review.

You must indicate the grounds for the appeal and a detailed statement must be submitted, explaining why the decision is being challenged. Where the ground for an appeal is that the Salford Support Fund decision was not supported by the evidence submitted, the appellant must have received guidance on how the original decision was made before an appeal can be pursued.

The Appeal Panel will consider an appeal after the deadline only if there is a valid reason for the appeal being delayed. The Appeals Panel will make the final decision on whether it will consider appeals submitted after the deadline.

Appeals Procedure

The student's Appeal Form and a summary of the original application will be submitted to the Appeal Panel for consideration together with a copy of the assessor's spreadsheet and assessment sheet giving the reason for the original decision. The Appeal Panel may review the full application if required.

The decision of the Appeal Panel on the current application is final.

If an appeal is rejected this does not prevent a re-application based on changed circumstances at a later date.

The names of both the Review Panel and the Appeal Panel can be given upon request.

Please click here to view the assessment procedure guidelines

The Salford Support Fund may be used to offer short-term repayable welfare loans to eligible students in semester one who have not yet received their loan instalment through from Student Finance England through no fault of their own.

Welfare loans are cash payments at a set rate to help with essential expenditure such as food, travel and childcare whilst students are waiting for their funding package to come through at the start of the academic year.

Evidence of eligibility for student funding has to be provided.

The maximum initial funds available to students who live in the parental home or in University accommodation will be £30 per week. The maximum initial funds available to students living away from the parental home in non-university accommodation will be £50 per week. The initial loan will cover up to 4 weeks and students whose funding is severely delayed will be able to request a further loan at the end of this period but further loans are discretional. The maximum loan for childcare will be £125 per week and will only be available to students whose Student Finance England or NHS Childcare Grant is delayed.

Before Applying for Emergency Welfare Funding

  1. You must try to find out the progress of your application and when funding might be paid. You should therefore:
    • Monitor the progress of your application online with Student Finance England and printout as evidence.
    • Monitor the Student Finance England 'evidence screen' to see if the evidence has been processed.
    • Speak to someone by calling Student Finance England on100 0607 (they will need your Customer Reference Number, password and secret answer), you can call Student Finance England or NHS Bursaries for free from our designated phones in University House. You will find record sheets next to the phones for you to be able to record who you have spoken to and what information they have given you, this will help if there are any issues or discrepancies at a later date.
  2. You should also visit your bank in person to explain your situation and ask for a short-term overdraft. You should take your University ID card showing that you have registered with the University and some evidence showing that you have applied for your student funding. Make sure that you have applied for a Student Account - giving access to an interest free overdraft facility.

Applying for Emergency Welfare Funding

To apply for an Emergency Welfare Loan you will need to come and speak to an advisor in University House, you will need to bring with you evidence that you have applied for Student Funding and for a Childcare Grant if applicable. You will also need to bring with you evidence of your current bank balance in the form of a dated mini-statement.

Where possible Emergency Welfare Loans are issued on the same day as seeing an advisor, subject to sufficient evidence of your circumstances. All loans are paid in cash and are given at the advisors discretion.

The Emergency Loan is intended to help you with basic essential needs and is interest free; however this loan is a repayable loan. You will be required to set up an automated card payment with our Finance Office at the time of receiving any loan. The repayment date will be set to a date in the future that the advisor would estimate your student funding to have been issued to you by. If you need to change the date of this repayment due to further delays in your funding then you can do this by contacting the finance office in University House. Please note that if you fail to repay the loan by the end of the academic year then the debt will be passed to a third party debt collection agency which may result in your credit score being affected.

If you have a household income of below £25,000 we will reimburse the full £200 contribution directly to you. If your household income is between £25,000 and £35,000 we will reimburse £100 of the costs directly to you (as verified by your Student Finance England income assessment)

If you have not been income assessed though Student Finance England, either because you are a Postgraduate student or a self-funding student then we may need to ask you to apply to our Salford Support Fund for assistance with these costs instead.

You will need to provide a copy of your Disabled Students Allowance Approval Letter (DSA2) showing you have been assessed for a computer or laptop.

You will also need to provide a copy of the receipt to show you have paid the £200 contribution or, if you have been unable to pay the £200 contribution due to insufficient funds, you will need to provide a copy of an up to date bank statement showing to verify that you do not have the funds available.

Apply for support

You can contact us by telephone on 0161 295 0023 or by emailing salfordsupportfund@salford.ac.uk.

Alternatively, you can call into any one of our askUS desks located in University House, Allerton, Maxwell or MediaCityUK. There is an unstaffed information point at the Adelphi building.

We are open Monday to Friday from 8.30am until 6pm in University House or 10am until 3pm at the other askUS Desks across campus.

If you wish to upload further evidence in support of your application, you must contact us first for further guidance.

View the full assessment procedure guidelines to which the fund adheres here.