In order to justify increasing student tuition fees to £9,000 a year, universities must provide packages of financial support that are approved by the Office for Fair Access as demonstration of their commitment to widening access. For most institutions this will not be a problem, with a variety of assistance schemes gradually being unveiled.
However, for such schemes to be effective, universities in the first instance must attract students from low- and squeezed-income backgrounds. Given the amount of negative publicity surrounding fees, it would be of great interest (perhaps even a requirement?) to see what investment universities are making to counteract public perception and attract such qualifying students.
Provision of support, and uptake of support, may be two very different measures.
David G. Allison, Manchester