Universities dig deep to keep scholarships alive

A number of universities have decided to use their own funds to replace state scholarship money that was axed last year

January 2, 2014

Most higher education institutions have been forced to cut the number of student awards made under the National Scholarship Programme after its budget for 2014-15 was unexpectedly slashed by £100 million in November.

Ministers have suggested that institutions should halve the number of awards to students from families earning less than £25,000 a year, while reducing the maximum financial support by £1,000 to £2,000.

But some institutions have decided to use their own reserves to try to plug the funding gap.

The University of Leicester will stump up some £700,000 to replace the sum it expects to lose next year, allowing it to fund the 233 scholarships, worth £3,000 each, that would otherwise be lost.

University College London will contribute £600,000 to ensure that 315 awards are made next year, while the University of Warwick has found £500,000 to cover two-thirds of the amount it is losing from the scheme, with awards falling to £2,000.

The University of York has dug up some £350,000 to cover about half the cuts, with students now able to claim £2,000 in accommodation fee discounts.

Universities were told to resubmit their 2014-15 access plans for widening access to higher education by 15 December, taking the cuts into account.

According to a survey of the revised plans by Media FHE, many universities were unable to fully compensate for lost scholarship funding, although several are doubling the amount available in cash to £2,000.

That follows criticisms by the National Union of Students that scholarship awards in the form of fee waivers were a “con trick” because students will never, on average, earn enough to pay back the final third of their loans.

The Higher Education Funding Council for England, which has said that it expects institutions to maintain the total level of access funding, welcomed the decision by some universities to increase their spending.

jack.grove@tsleducation.com

Times Higher Education free 30-day trial

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Student Hub Advisor

Greenwich School Of Management Ltd

Data Systems Administrator

Greenwich School Of Management Ltd

Deputy Vice Chancellor

University Of Cumbria

Professor in English Literature

University Of Glasgow
See all jobs

Most Commented

Doctoral study can seem like a 24-7 endeavour, but don't ignore these other opportunities, advise Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O'Gorman

Matthew Brazier illustration (9 February 2017)

How do you defeat Nazis and liars? Focus on the people in earshot, says eminent Holocaust scholar Deborah Lipstadt

Improvement, performance, rankings, success

Phil Baty sets out why the World University Rankings are here to stay – and why that's a good thing

Warwick vice-chancellor Stuart Croft on why his university reluctantly joined the ‘flawed’ teaching excellence framework

people dressed in game of thrones costume

Old Germanic languages are back in vogue, but what value are they to a modern-day graduate? Alice Durrans writes