Universities outside London targeting capital's teenagers with prospect of cheaper living in the North and Midlands

In the latest recruitment war, universities such as Leicester and Hull offering incentives to London school-leavers to enrol with them

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The Independent Online

Universities outside London are targeting teenagers in the capital with the prospect of a cheaper cost of living in the North and Midlands.

In the latest recruitment war, universities such as Leicester and Hull offering incentives to London school-leavers to enrol with them. They believe the lower cost  will persuade the teenagers   to opt for their courses.

Leicester has already entered into a formal “partnership agreement” with seven London schools, under which one student per school will be offered a £1,000 scholarship to take up a place at the university. In addition, it has targeted a range of secondary schools, academies and high-performing sixth-form colleges in the capital, offering   “taster” lectures and training for their teachers on how to help their pupils fill in university applications.

“Students who come here have all the benefits of leaving London, including the lower cost of living, but are not going very far away,” said Jonathan Tinnacher, co-ordinator of the university’s London to Leicester project. “Leicester, like London, is very multicultural. If you are from London, you will get off the train in Leicester and think everything feels quite familiar.”

One of the schools to have signed the partnership agreement, Sir George Monoux College in Walthamstow, north-east London, held a parents’ evening  where a member of staff from Leicester spoke about university applications and student finance. In addition, academics held a number of sessions with the students during the year.

“These are the kind of sessions that independent school pupils benefit from, but our students have less of these opportunities, so the Leicester link has been very valuable,”  said Dimitris Angeletos, the college’s director of UCAS admissions. “Meeting academics helps allay their fears about fitting in.”

Hull will be setting up a “pop-up” campus at a London hotel on A-level results day on 13 August, in a bid to persuade those applying for places through the clearing system to choose it. Staff will be on hand to explain course options and give advice on accommodation. They will be stressing that, according to a recent study, average consumer prices in Hull are more than 40 per cent lower than those in London

Would-be students will also be offered a free train ticket for two to enable them to explore Hull  with a current undergraduate before they make their final decision. “We understand that choosing your university is one of the most exciting and important decisions a person can make,” said Jeanine Gregersen-Hermans, the university’s director of student recruitment.

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