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ERIC Number: EJ777357
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Nov
Pages: 11
Abstractor: Author
ISSN: ISSN-0309-877X
Means-Tested Higher Education? The English University Bursary Mess
Mitton, Lavinia
Journal of Further and Higher Education, v31 n4 p373-383 Nov 2007
The UK government wishes to increase participation in higher education to 50%, with a key target group being students from 'non-traditional' backgrounds. At the same time, top-up fees have been introduced. Following the fierce parliamentary debates which threatened to derail the passage of the Higher Education Bill 2004, an amendment was introduced requiring universities to spend some fee income on bursaries, monitored by the Office for Fair Access (OFFA). English universities now offer a bewildering array of bursaries and scholarships and benefits in kind worth some 350m pounds a year. Eligibility may depend on family income, exam performance or subjects studied. Student finance is made even more complicated to navigate by the choices to be made between student loans, commercial loans and earning by working, and difficulties understanding when and how these will be paid back. The failure of eligible individuals to claim income-related benefits they are entitled to has been a long-standing concern within social security policy. This article uses theory from the literature on benefit take-up to explore as a case study the probable effectiveness of the English student financial support system on increasing access to higher education. We conclude that despite OFFA's claims for it, the current system is unsatisfactory for attracting students from lower-income backgrounds, and suggest the implications for action for policy makers and managers.
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: Policymakers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom