Distinction and Diversity in Higher Education

Office for Fair Access reviews the impact of institutional bursaries and scholarships


The Office for Fair Access (OFFA) has today published a study on the impact, awareness and take-up of institutional bursaries and scholarships, together with its Good Practice Guide for financial support structures in HEIs. The report clearly confirms that bursaries are having the desired effect of encouraging those from a wide range of backgrounds to take up opportunities in HE without financial worry being a factor in decision-making. It also highlights ways in which HE providers can do more to inform and support prospective students.

 

Alice Hynes, CEO of GuildHE, said, “The GuildHE institutions have a good track record in their advice and guidance for prospective students on bursaries and scholarships and we are delighted to see that OFFA’s Good Practice Guide highlights action at University College Falmouth and at Newman University College, Birmingham."

 

She added, “GuildHE members have expressed sympathy with those arguing for a national system for bursary support. I agree that the levels of discrepancy between bursaries for students with similar circumstance but at different institutions is both confusing and looks unfair. Equally, many GuildHE institutions have been particularly generous and imaginative in their support and the bursary offering is a way that the sector’s diverse opportunity is expressed. OFFA’s report certainly corroborates the scale of complexity and difficulty encountered by prospective students seeking to make sense of the funding support offered to them, despite the good record of many institutions in explaining what is available.”

 

Dr Andrew Upton, Pro Rector at University College Falmouth, explained, "We believe that it is absolutely critical to communicate clearly to students the level of support that they are likely to receive. From the interactive bursary calculator on our website to personalised communications to students and interdepartmental briefings to keep staff up to date about available funding, our priority is to try and ease the burden on students and their parents by emphasising who is eligible for what and highlighting application deadlines. The University College is also proactive in working with partners to establish new bursaries and scholarships such as the Scott Trust bursary for broadcast journalism."  

 

A spokesman from Newman University College explained its innovative use of the social networking sites Facebook and Twitter to promote its financial support, and the plan to take the responses generated to develop an FAQ on Newman’s website. These measures reflect Newman’s readiness to help its applicants by using  communication media they find familiar.

 

For more information, please contact:

Nick Johnstone – Policy Officer GuildHE

tel. 020 7387 7711

Notes to editors
 

1.         The report, ‘Awareness, take-up and impact of institutional bursaries and scholarships in England: Summary and recommendations’, was commissioned by OFFA and carried out by Professor Claire Callender of Birkbeck, University of London and the National Institute of Economic and Social Research. It will be available here

 

2.         Newman University College and University College Falmouth are both highlighted for their good practice in OFFA’s guide.

 

3.         GuildHE members are among the most dynamic and fastest-growing institutions in higher education. For a list of GuildHE institutions, please click here
 

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