Expenditure assessment

We will take into account general living costs, travel, rent payments and certain types of outstanding debts when we assess your expenditure for the Access to Learning Fund.

Find out how each area of expenditure is calculated, and what types are included or excluded from consideration in calculating your level of support.

Fixed costs

We apply a set expenditure level, based on state benefit amounts, for general living costs: for example, food, utilities, contents insurance, clothes, TV licence, entertainment, and gym membership. We include the cost of a mobile phone in general living costs only when the phone is a necessity: for instance, if you have children.

Fixed costs are currently £78 a week for single students. There is a sliding scale for students with partners and/or children.

Variable costs

For undergraduate students, variable costs such as rent, travel and course costs will have reasonable limits applied. We will normally limit travel costs to the cost of a weekly Metrocard, rather than the cost of running a car. We limit rent costs according to local conditions: for example, the rate of the local housing allowance and the average rent paid by students in Leeds.

For postgraduates, and undergraduates with reduced funding due to previous study, your actual costs will be applied, with no limits.


We do not normally include credit card balances, rent arrears and personal loans when assessing your expenditure, but we do include "priority debts".

"Priority debts" are debts where non-payment would give the creditor the right to deprive the debtor of his or her home, liberty or essential goods and services: that is, generally, where a court order has been made against you.

If the main reason for your application to the Access to Learning Fund (ALF) is to help with debts, get advice from Leeds University Union's Student Advice Centre as well as applying to the ALF.