Hardship Fund for Learners

Hardship Fund for Learners

Last updated 19 May 2020
Last updated 19 May 2020

The Hardship Fund for Learners (HAFL) helps tertiary education organisations (TEOs) provide temporary financial assistance for currently enrolled tertiary learners who are facing hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In this context, Hardship means any suffering, deprivation or financial challenge faced by a learner due to the COVID-19 pandemic that is interfering with a learner’s ability to progress with their study.

The HAFL is allocated directly to TEOs, who can then provide assistance to their learners who need it the most.  

TEOs can use the HAFL to support learners facing hardship by:

  • Providing direct cash payments to learners; and/or
  • Directly purchasing resources on learners’ behalf, where suitable.

The HAFL can be used to cover any basic living costs that the TEOs’ currently enrolled learners are unable to meet, including, but not limited to, food, utilities, rent or other unexpected expenses. As the hardship can be in many forms, TEOs are trusted to exercise their judgement as to how they can best support their learners in a way consistent with the purpose of the Fund.

HAFL cannot be used to:

  • Provide access to technology-enabled tertiary education and training.
  • Fund bulk accommodation discounts for accommodation services that TEOs provide.
  • Meet costs associated with administering the Fund.

Funding can be used to support initiatives from 23 March 2020, which is the date the move to COVID-19 alert Level 4 was announced, until 31 December 2020.

HAFL has been automatically allocated to all eligible TEOs. The list of TEOs with HAFL funding is published on this page, which includes how much each TEO has been allocated, how much each TEO has spent to date, and how many learners each TEO has supported.

Information on HAFL is also included in the guide for TEOs:

Hardship Fund for Learners – Guide for TEOs (PDF, 703 Kb)