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Increasing university opportunities in Bristol South

Expansion of university grants to get more kids into higher education

Plans to increase the availability of full grants worth up to £2700 to over 50,000 more students each year, as well as expanding the partial grant programme to over 100,000 extra students, were unveiled by John Denham, Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities & Skills last week, and have been welcomed by Bristol South MP Dawn Primarolo.

The plans are particularly good news for parents and students from Bristol South, which has seen low higher education participation rates, an issue Dawn has been working to correct through her work with the University of the West of England's report on Youth Participation in Higher Education, focusing on the constituency.

UWE's wide-ranging report highlighted, amongst other things, fears from young people and parents over the cost of university and student debt. These new Government plans will hopefully go some way towards reducing those fears and encourage more Bristol South school leaves to enter higher education.

Dawn says: "This is fantastic news for prospective students and their parents right across Bristol South. The work of the new Government will have a direct positive impact on improving skills and education throughout the constituency".

"The new measures and increased support for students will help combat fears about the cost of higher education. I strongly hope that prospective students from Bristol South will recognise that the historic barriers to higher education are being torn down, and that the support is very much there for them".

Key Facts

  • These changes will take effect for students entering higher education from 2008. 
  • Students from families with incomes up to £25,000 will be entitled to full grants - at present only students from households with incomes of up to £17,500 are entitled to full grants.
  • Students whose families have household incomes of up to £60,000 a year will be eligible for a grant in future.
  • As a result of these reforms:
              - A third of students will get a full grant compared to 29% today.
              - A further third of students will get a partial grant compared to 22% today.
              - The proportion of students receiving maintenance grants will therefore rise from just
                over half who entered higher education in 2006 to two thirds of students from 2008 - a
                major increase in financial support to students.

[9 July 2007]

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