UK universities spending more on outreach and less on bursaries, report shows

 

Education Editor

Britain’s leading universities have performed a U-turn over the methods they use to attract more disadvantaged students, says a report out today.

University access watchdog the Office for Fair Access reveals they are cutting spending on scholarships and bursaries and putting their efforts into sending students into their schools to raise their aspirations instead,

Figures show spending on outreach work is expected to rise from £125 million to £146 million next year, while the money earmarked to support students on their courses whilst at university also goes up from £119 million to £131 million. In addition, a further £46 million is being spent on helping prepare disadvantaged students for job interviews.

By contrast, the amount spent on bursaries, scholarships and hardship funds is set to fall from £465 million to £412 million as university vice-chancellors come to the conclusion it is not the cost of the courses that is the main deterrent for poorer students seeking a university place. With loans, no student has to repay their fees until they are earning £21,000 a year.

The figures emerge in a list of the 172 “access agreements” signed by individual universities and OFFA, without which they would be unable to charge fees of over £6,000 a year.

“We’ve seen a clear change in investment patterns,” said Les Ebdon, OFFA’s director. “I am pleased with the increasingly strategic, evidence-led approach we are seeing in the access agreements that universities and colleges submit to us.”

Today’s report says universities are “increasing their emphasis on the whole student lifecycle where students are supported not only to prepare for and access higher education but also supported on their journey through and beyond their course”.

However, university lecturers’ leaders warned that there was still “much more to do if colleges and universities are serious about changing the social make-up of their campuses”.

“OFFA may have pushed colleges and universities to stretch their targets but the statistics tell us there is much more to do,” said Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and College Union. “Where someone lives and their family background still has too much bearing on whether they succeed into higher education.”

Meanwhile, a report by the Higher Education Policy Institute think tank published today warns the Government has a “blind spot” over regulating private sector providers of higher education.

Professor Sir David Watson, author of the pamphlet, says: “In the UK we have a fear, verging on paranoia, about regulating the private and for-profit sector to the same to the same standards and levels of the public sector in case they take away their ball.”

As a result, there had been cases of private colleges having minimal attendances at lectures, with the suggestion they were enrolling students just to make money rather than putting them through a rigorous admissions interview.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Trainee

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Cloud ERP Solution Provide...

Guru Careers: Junior Designer / Design Graduate

£18 - 20k: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Junior Designer / Design Graduate to...

Guru Careers: Graduate Software Developer / Junior Developer

£20 - 28k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Graduate Software Develop...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Trainee Teacher - Maths

£18000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This organization is the larges...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview