Prizes aid arts and minds

April 27, 2007

The number of applications to Edge Hill University has rocketed since it won the 2006 Times Higher award for Outstanding Student Financial Support.

John Cater, the vice-chancellor, said the award recognised the value of its innovative approach and encouraged it to develop more new ideas.

He said: "We are sure that winning the award has contributed to a massive rise in applications, which has well exceeded national trends, with a 37 per cent increase on last year's figures, compared with 5.1 per cent nationally."

As well as excellence scholarships worth £2,000 over three years, Edge Hill is offering new scholarships for excellence in online communication and entrepreneurship and a new £750 bursary a year for care-leavers. A Pounds 200 Unicard is offered to every student to buy books and materials and is not income contingent.

This year, The Times Higher is launching a new award for Excellence and Innovation in the Arts, which is sponsored by the Arts Council. It aims to recognise collaborative and interdisciplinary work going on in universities.

Kate Barnard, national higher education officer at Arts Council England, said the award was part of the council's new higher education strategy, which recognises institutions as powerful investors and players in the arts and in cultural provision and development.

"Through The Times Higher award for the arts, we hope to discover more about the range of excellent practice in higher education."

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