Higher Education Support

A safe and supportive experience for all our learners.

We offer flexible support for students who are studying on higher education programmes at Activate Learning:

  • One-to-one meetings with the HE support team to discuss your support needs, including reasonable adjustments, for example, you could be allowed extra time in exams
  • We work with teaching teams to ensure that you will be supported
  • Small study skills workshops, including topics such as revision tips, planning your essays and how to manage your time effectively
  • One-to-one study skills support and mentoring
  • Support can be delivered face to face, in small groups or online
  • Support and guidance for students applying for Disabled Students Allowance funding
  • Support to access screening for or diagnosing specific learning difficulties, such as dyslexia
  • Online resources for students to access independently
  • Referral to the Sensory Impairment team, supporting students who are deaf, hard of hearing or visually impaired
  • Wellbeing support

Student support

Our dedicated Student Support teams are on hand to ensure you feel supported during your time at college.


Study, relationships, money worries... sometimes problems can seem hard to deal with and life can be challenging at times. All our learners have access to a free, confidential counselling service, to help them work through any issues that may be affecting their studies.

Mental health

Mental health issues will affect one in four people in the UK each year.

Mental health support is an important part of how we help you maintain a good balance between your study, personal life and other commitments you may have. Many teachers and support staff are trained in mental health first aid to support you on your journey.

If you are distressed and need someone to talk to, we can help. Our qualified counsellors can discuss your personal, education or work issues. They are experts in offering strategies to handle stress, worries or anxiety. Our aim is to help build resilience and coping strategies, helping you succeed and grow.

Support for LGBTQIA+ students

Activate Learning offer dedicated individual and group support for LGBTQIA+ students at our colleges. We work closely with community networks and clubs to offer as much support as possible. We facilitate LGBTQIA+ clubs and groups at all of our campuses and will continue to expand these groups.

Throughout the academic year, the Student Support team celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community with a range of external and internal events.

We continue to train and upskill our Student Support staff to better support the diverse students at our colleges.

Regardless of age, Student Support can support you with referrals and engagement to other services in the community.

At each of our college campuses we have an LGBTQIA+ society. Anyone that identifies in the LGBTQIA+ community or as an ally is welcome to come along. The society meets to offer support, fundraise for charities and events, and organise events for the community in college. The society is completely student-led so we need your input! If you are interested in coming along to a meeting or joining the society then drop an email to your Head of Student Experience or speak to your local Student Support team on campus.


We have a team of safeguarding and child protection specialists to respond if you are worried about your own or somebody else’s health, safety or wellbeing, on or off campus. Ultimately, it is everybody’s responsibility to keep our campuses safe and we try our best to foster a strong sense of community. When on campus, we ask that you always wear your lanyard to identify yourself and to access buildings. We want everyone to feel welcome, safe and secure whilst at college.

Higher Education bursaries 2023/24

Activate Learning recognises that funding is a big part of your decision to embark on a higher education programme.  You will be aware of, should budget for and be able to meet, all of the pre-requisite costs associated with your course e.g. course fees, cost of necessary materials or activities (such as personal therapy for Counselling students, material costs for furniture students) and regular travel to and from college. 

For eligible students we have put in place arrangements in the form of bursaries and funds to support you with other course-related expenditure during the term of your studies. 

All bursaries are paid directly to you, giving you full control over how and where you spend them.   

All bursaries and awards from funds are paid as grants and so do not need to be repaid. 

Activate Learning’s HE Bursary and Financial Award Panel meets on a Tuesday during term time with the first meeting in 2023.24 scheduled for 17th October 2023. You should note that applications received throughout a week will be considered by the Panel at the following Tuesday’s meeting. 

If you are studying and registered on a course with either Oxford Brookes University or the University of Reading, you should in the first instance, seek support from the relevant awarding university. If you are unable to access support due to circumstances such as the fund at the university having been exhausted, you may make a subsequent claim for any of the available Bursaries or the HE Study Support/Hardship Funds. 

Applications should be made using the online form available on the HE Portal within ALO or available here. 

HE Bursary Application form

The HE Maintenance Bursary exists to provide you with some extra financial support while you’re studying with us.  You can use this money for whatever you need, whether that’s a helping hand with your rent or travelling to campus.

What’s it worth?

The HE Maintenance Bursary offers a grant of up to £1000 paid in two instalments (55% at the beginning of the academic year with the balance of 45% paid in April) subject to your satisfactory attendance and academic progress. Application is not a guarantee of an award as a limited number of awards are available.

Who is eligible?

  • Be eligible for funding as a home student;
  • Be normally resident in the UK;
  • Be in receipt of the full SFE maintenance loan;
  • Have a family income of £25,000 or less; and,
  • Studying on an FdSc/BSc awarded by Kingston University, an FdSc awarded by the University of Greenwich or an FdSc awarded by Middlesex University.

All applications must be made using the online form.

As part of your application, you will be required to provide evidence to show that you meet the eligibility criteria. It is important to note that you can apply for a HE Maintenance Bursary in each year of study.

You will be able to apply for an Activate Learning HE Maintenance Bursary from September 2023 onwards, provided Activate Learning is your firm choice through UCAS.  Awards will be made following the initial Award Panel on 10 October 2023.

You should be aware that funds are not unlimited and that applications for the HE Maintenance Bursary will be processed in the order they are received. The application process will be closed once the funding has been used. Please note that should it be necessary, preference will be given to students where neither parent holds a higher education qualification.

The HE Care Leaver Bursary is a grant of £1000 paid in one instalment in October to eligible students.

Who’s eligible?

In order to be considered for HE Care Leaver Bursary, you must meet our definition of a Care Experienced or Estranged student: someone who has been in the care of their local authority/had an experience of the care system after the age of 14 for a minimum period of 3 months. You will also need to be registered on a full-time undergraduate course,  classed as a Home student, and under the age of 25 at the start of your course.

You will receive the HE Care Bursary in each year of your course on the condition that you meet attendance requirements and progress normally on the programme.

You should be aware that you can apply for both an HE Maintenance Bursary as well as an HE Care Leaver Bursary.

All applications must be made using the online form.

You should be aware that funds are not unlimited and that applications for the HE Care Leaver Bursary will be processed in the order they are received. The application process will be closed once the funding has been used.  Payments will be made at the beginning of the academic year.

Activate Learning is aware that caring may have financial implications with students experiencing higher travel costs and/or finding themselves less able to work part-time to supplement their student finance awards. 

To help ease some of these financial worries, Activate Learning offers unpaid young carers, ie those carers who are under the age of 25 at enrolment, with an annual bursary of up to £500.

Who’s eligible?

We define a Carer as 

someone who looks after a member of the family, partner or friend with a physical or sensory disability, learning disability, medical condition, mental health issues or someone addicted to drugs, alcohol or gambling.

(Please note that these duties would be in addition to the usual caring responsibilities that a parent would have for a dependent child.)

You should be aware that you can apply for both a HE Maintenance Bursary as well as a HE Carers Bursary.

All applications must be made using the online form.  You will also need to provide evidence from a professional person who is aware of the family’s situation and your caring responsibility. If you were previously in receipt of Carers Allowance, we will need evidence from the Department of Work & Pensions that this has now ceased.

You should be aware that funds are not unlimited and that applications for the HE Carers Bursary will be processed in the order they are received. The application process will be closed once the funding has been used.  Payments will be made at the beginning of the academic year.

If you are a carer who is paid a salary for your caring duties or are in receipt of Carers Allowance, we regret that you are not eligible for this bursary.

Activate Learning has put in place a HE Study Support Fund to provide students with access to financial support to meet their course's additional costs. Such additional costs might include obtaining digital technology to aid remote/online studying, material to support studying, ie research papers, equipment/material for coursework, travel arrangements for an event or project directly linked to their course of study, ie field trips, off-site research* or undertaking a dyslexia assessment. This is not an exhaustive list, and as such, an application will be considered for this bursary as long as the eligibility criteria are met and financial support can be justified.

*Students studying on either an FdSc or a BSc awarded by Kingston University at Merrist Wood College can apply for a grant from the HE Study Support Fund to help in meeting the financial costs of undertaking the work experience requirement within their course.

The HE Study Support Fund also provides limited discretionary financial support for students on higher education programmes who are experiencing unforeseen financial difficulty where their ability to continue their studies is compromised because they are unable to meet basic or unexpected additional costs from other sources of support. In such circumstances the Fund is able to make small grantsApplications for such support will be assessed based on individual needs preventing attendance or full participation in the programme of study. If you are entitled to welfare benefits, these should be applied for before submitting an application to the fund. Any award from the fund may affect your benefit payments, but on request, we can produce a letter for your Job Centre Plus/Housing Benefit office, which will confirm whether or not the award will affect your benefits. 

What’s it worth?

This offers a grant of up to £500 is available and will be subject to sufficient attendance (at least 80% attendance) and academic progress on the part of the student.  You will be required to provide evidence that you meet the eligibility criteria. Application is not a guarantee of an award as a limited number of awards are available. 

You should be aware that requests for support in purchasing IT equipment and other study aids will be limited to £250 or 50%, whichever is the lower, of the cost of the equipment unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Who is eligible?

You are eligible to apply for the HE Study Support Fund if you are an active student on an undergraduate programme and are normally resident in the UK.  You will need to be up-to-date in the payment of tuition fees. 

Please note that you will need to be able to demonstrate relevance to your studies of the support requested.

All applications must be made using the online form and will be limited to a maximum of two applications per student per academic year - HE Study Support Bursary application form 2023.24  


Funds are not unlimited and applications for the HE Study Support Fund will be processed in the order they are received preference will also be given to students where neither parent has a higher education qualification. The application process will be closed once the funding has been used. Please note that you may be required to provide receipts to validate the expenditure and applications must be submitted at least 15 working days prior to the date on which funds are required. Failure to provide evidence is likely to result in a delay in applications being considered. 

 You should be aware that payments will not be made until the start of the academic year and if you withdraw from your programme of study prior to the end of the academic year you may be liable to repay all or part of any HE Study Support Fund paid to you. 


Please be reassured that your application will remain confidential, please refer to our privacy policy on our website.

If you need help filling out the form, you can call an adviser on 0800 612 6008 and we will be happy to help.

Apply early!

Please apply as early as you can. These Government bursary funds are limited, we will distribute them on a first come, first served basis. It is possible that the fund might be exhausted by the time you apply.

Fees and how to fund HE

You'll find information regarding the different ways to fund your course in the funding section HERE. 

I’ve been working as a mechanic for a long time, but after taking up a new hobby in woodwork, I realised I wanted to try and pursue that as a career. I’ve really enjoyed working with other people and giving support to my classmates. I’m now trying to get into the teaching side of things, as I’ve found it really rewarding. Neil, Furniture at Oxford

Our learning locations

There's plenty to discover at your local Activate Learning College and beyond in your community