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Access to Digital Learning Fund

The Birkbeck Access to Digital Learning Fund is available to support undergraduate, postgraduate and research Home and EU students who are unable to pay for the cost of essential IT resources such as a laptop and other key items, to ensure that they can successfully engage with online study.

While we aim to help as many students as possible through this fund, it is limited and will close once funds have been exhausted. We would therefore encourage students to apply as early as possible.

Fund details

The following information outlines the details of the Birkbeck Access to Digital Learning Fund, including eligibility, value of the fund, what you can put the money towards, and how to apply.

Eligibility criteria

  • In order to be eligible to apply, you must be fully enrolled on any course, studying a minimum of 30 credits for the 2021-22 academic year, or enrolled on a  research programme. You must also have a household income of £25,000 or less as defined in the criteria below. You must also meet one of the categories defined below:
    • be in receipt of means-tested benefits or living with parents in receipt of means-tested benefits
    • be a student with a mental health condition, disability or other long-term health condition who is not eligible for DSA support from the Student Loans Company
    • be enrolled on an undergraduate course and hold non-traditional entry route qualifications such as a BTEC or Access qualification
    • hold refugee or humanitarian protection status
    • be a single parent in receipt of child benefit
    • be a care leaver
    • be in receipt of carer's allowance
    • be an approved Compass Project student
    • be a student on an undergraduate degree programme in receipt of a tuition fee loan from SFE who has been classified as EU and therefore is ineligible for a maintenance loan on this basis.
  • If you do not meet these criteria but still feel unable to afford essential IT equipment, we would encourage you to contact Student Advice about other financial support you may be eligible to apply for.

household income

  • Household income is your gross income from the tax year before the start of the academic year (e.g. 2020-21 tax year for the 2021-22 academic year) and the gross income of your spouse/partner (if relevant). Parental income is not considered for any students.
  • The income limit is raised by £2000 if assessed on a joint income, £2000 for the first dependent child, and a further £1000 for each child thereafter. (A dependent child is any child under 18, for whom you or your partner has parental responsibility that is wholly or mainly financially dependent.)

Value of award

  • Awards of up to £500 per student are available. As our funds are limited, we ask you to please only request the amount you require to cover your essential costs. This will enable us to help as many students as possible before the funds are exhausted. 
  • On your application we will ask you to specify your requirements, and how you intend to use the funds, so you may wish to research possible options before applying.

Eligible items

  • Students can apply for support towards the cost of the following items through the fund:
    • a laptop or desktop computer (cannot reapply for this is awarded in a previous year)
    • a standard home broadband connection
    • other essential equipment including a mouse, keyboard, laptop stand, basic headphones with microphone or headset.

How to apply

  • When enrolling on your course, you should select 'yes' when asked if you want to be considered for means-tested assistance and answer the relevant questions. If you have already enrolled and did not select this option, please contact Student Advice for advice on how to proceed. 
  • Emails will be sent out to all students who have opted to be means-tested on enrolment. This email will contain a link to the online application, which will guide you through the eligibility criteria, and determine your eligibility for the fund. If you are eligible to apply, you will then be required to provide relevant evidence. 
  • You can also apply using the online application form and completing all sections. 
  • Once your evidence has been assessed and if it is approved, you will be asked to register your bank details for payment via your My Birkbeck profile. Payment will be made via BACS transfer.
  • You will then have 28 days to purchase your IT equipment, and provide us with the relevant receipts.