Hardship scheme is 'ridiculous' (4)

August 6, 2004

The article on abuses of hardship funds reads ironically to those of us who recruit and support the forgotten people of higher education, the part-timers.

One of the few ways part-time students will benefit from the Higher Education Act is through more generous fee remission and support arrangements.

The bad news is that the application process is likely to deter take-up by part-time students, and institutions. No assessment of a student's financial circumstances will be made until the institution has confirmed to the local authority that he or she has attended for two weeks.

So would-be students will not know whether they will receive support and at what level, while institutions will be asked to take a chance on whether students will get the funding they need and to bear the administrative costs. Recruitment of the socially excluded is likely to be especially badly affected.

It is regrettable that articles such as yours provoke moral panic and undermine efforts to establish a workable system for poor students.

Tony Donajgrodzki

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