How do I apply for the ARL grant?
Information about the grant, guidance document and application form can be found on the Access to Remote Learning page.

What specifications should I be looking for when buying a laptop or PC?
When purchasing a laptop or PC you should consider these minimum requirements

  • Intel i5 processor, equivalent or higher
  • 8GB of memory as a minimum is fine, but 16GB is ideal
  • 1080p HD screen
  • Disk size requirements will depend on your course. The University offers unlimited storage on Google Drive and OneDrive, which is great for most courses where written assignments and exams are the methods of assessment. If studying a media or graphic design course etc. where you may be using specialist software or large files you will need more storage. 256GB SSD should be fine for most students, but depending on your course you might need to consider 500GB plus
  • If you purchase a laptop think about the screen size, 14” or 15” is recommended but you may also want to purchase an external monitor for comfort working at a desk
  • Most University systems and applications work best with the Google Chrome browser, this can be installed for free
  • Invest in a good set of headphones, this will help if you are in a busy house/flat/halls and you need to listen to lectures online

I received some funding from the ARL grant before, can I apply again?
You can apply again, but you can only receive a maximum of £475 in total throughout your time at Sheffield Hallam. The grant is not available per year of study, if you have already received the maximum amount, you will not be able to apply again.

£525 was available last year, why is it only £475 this year?
The University helped over a 1,500 students purchase equipment during the spring of 2020 to enable them to continue their studies remotely, £475 was the average amount requested during that time. We believe this is a reasonable amount to offer in order to purchase good quality practical equipment for university study. It also means we are able to help more students from what is a strictly limited budget.

My application has not been approved, can I re-apply?
This depends on your circumstances, please let us know about your situation by contacting Hallam Help.

Why can’t I use the fund to purchase a tablet?
Tablet screens are often very small and often do not come with keyboards or a mouse included, therefore, we do not view tablet computers as being good value for money or practical for university study and completely assessments. They are also not ideal for safe Display Screen Equipment use and some online university services are not designed to render on smaller screens. Larger tablets, and having to pay extra for a keyboard/mouse, will often be a lot more expensive than the £475 limit.

Why can’t the grant be used to contribute towards high-end expensive equipment?
The grant is available to help students most in need, who have no access to IT in order to engage in remote learning and do not have the funds to purchase the equipment they need. We cannot support students that are able to make a large personal contribution towards the cost of equipment they would like and are, therefore, able to purchase equipment themselves within the £475 limit of the fund.

Can I purchase something different to what I have put in my application?
Yes, as long as it is a similar item. The price also does not have to be exactly the same but should be similar. The University has the right to invoice you for any unspent funds or unauthorised spending so if the item(s) and/or price is very different to the items in your application we may seek to recover funds from you.

The price of the item(s) I'd like to purchase has gone up, what should I do?
If the price has increased and you have not received the maximum of £475 you can apply for further funding by submitting another application form. If you have received the maximum of £475 already you will need to make a contribution towards the cost yourself, or shop around for similar items at a lower price.

The price of the item(s) I'd like to purchase is less than I first thought it was going to be, will I have to repay some of the funds I have been awarded?
We will only seek to recover funds from you if you have spent significantly less than the amount you were awarded, if you have not already done so please submit your evidence of your spending. We will assess this and let you know if there are any issues.

I have submitted an application but would now like to make changes.
You can return to your application form and make changes at any time if your application status is 'Pending'. Once it has been assessed you will no longer be able to make any changes. Please note that you do not need to purchase exactly the same equipment that you listed in your application, so you do not need to change it if you are purchasing similar items.

I have already purchased some equipment, can I apply to have this reimbursed?
Unfortunately we cannot reimburse students for equipment you already own. This grant is only available for those that cannot afford to purchase the equipment they need. If you are experiencing financial difficulties you may be eligible for a payment from the Hallam Hardship Fund.

Why can't I purchase the equipment from a friend, family member or second-hand marketplace?
Using the Access to Remote Learning grant to financially benefit friends or family is viewed as a misuse of funds by the University. We recommend that students use the grant to purchase new, reliable equipment from a reputable retailer. Second-hand equipment purchased from a friend, family member or second-hand marketplace does not necessarily represent good value for money. The equipment may not be covered by a warranty and second-hand equipment could be unreliable, unsafe and could put your personal data at risk. It is also not appropriate to use the fund to pay for something that you already have access to within your household.

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