The biggest of the awards, for universities to support students to progress to taught postgraduate level, will see five universities receive more than £1 million each, according to initial allocation calculations from the Higher Education Funding Council for England.
Institutions receiving the largest sums of money will be able to support in excess of 200 students each.
Hefce has issued guidance on how universities will be able to use the funding, announced by George Osborne, the chancellor, in the Autumn Statement to top up postgraduate funding until the new loan scheme starts in 2016-17.
A circular letter to heads of institutions says that the funding should be focused on UK or EU students who have paid the higher undergraduate fees since they came into force in 2012-13 and who are from groups underrepresented at taught postgraduate level.
The formula used to determine each university’s allocation is based on the number of students at each institution from areas with the lowest participation in higher education and the number receiving Disabled Students’ Allowances, says Hefce in the circular letter.
The money will be distributed between 120 universities and six further education colleges. Awards range in size from £5,000 to £1.35 million. The universities of Birmingham, Manchester and Sheffield, Kings College London and University College London will receive in excess of £1 million each.
Full and part-time students studying for up to two years will be eligible for the funding.
In total the funding will cover 10,000 students, who will each receive £10,000 towards the cost of their studies, half of which will come from the university or other sources.
“The institutional contribution may take the form of a reduction to the published tuition fee,” says Hefce.
Hefce has allocated 90 per cent of the funding to institutions, with the remaining 10 per cent held back to accommodate any potential changes to allocations.