HC Deb 17 September 2003 vol 410 cc789-90W
Mr. Boswell

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make a statement on the (a) use, (b) development and (c) cost of the Access to Learning Fund. [129988]

Mr. Ivan Lewis

The Access to Learning Fund (ALF) is a new non-repayable discretionary Fund administered by institutions with HE students and aimed at providing additional support for those who need extra financial help to access or remain in Higher Education. Priority groups for assistance include: students with children (especially lone-parents); mature students; students from low income families; disabled students; care leavers and students from Foyers or who are homeless.

The ALF is being introduced following consultation with institutions' and students' representatives to ensure that awards are made on a consistent and transparent basis. The ALF is currently being piloted in approximately 50 institutions and subject to evaluation it is intended to be rolled out in all institutions from 2004–05.

In 2004–05 £65.5 million will be available through the Access to Learning Fund.