Universities plan education for all

University of Brighton
University of Brighton

Universities will earmark millions of pounds to help students from under-privileged backgrounds.

The two universities in Brighton and Hove will earmark millions of pounds to help students from under-privileged backgrounds to access higher education.

Figures released by the Office for Fair Access (OFFA) show both the University of Brighton and the University of Sussex are ring-fencing substantial funds to encourage the less-well-off to continue their studies.

Both institutions already offer grants and other forms of financial support to students from groups traditionally under-represented in further and higher education.

The University of Brighton has announced it will set aside £8.5 million in 2015-16 to encourage students to apply to university.

The new package includes £3.6 million for bursaries to support students from financially-disadvantaged backgrounds, with an estimated 2,000 new students likely to receive at least £1,000, and others - those with the lowest family income - eligible for more.

Since 2011, the university has been developing projects aimed at widening participation in higher education, including linking up with 50 schools and colleges to encourage the transition from school to higher education.

That project will receive £1.4 million under the plans. Currently, there are 1,500 participants, but this should expand to 2,800 by 2015-16.

The University of Sussex also already offers financial support for students through its award-winning First-Generation Scholars Scheme (FGSS). Another £4.1 million will go to students in 2015-16 - along with £1.4 million for outreach programmes.

An estimated £2.5 million of direct funding will be paid to students in their first year of study through the FGSS and a further £1.6 million to students in their second and third years, as part of a drive to make sure students who are struggling financially complete their studies.

The FGSS is aimed at students from households with a total income of less than £42,600 a year and those from communities who do not traditionally generate university candidates.

Those who qualify benefit from a £2,000 rent reduction in the first year and £1,000 grant for each year they study.

For more information, visit: www.offa.org.uk