Brookes is one of top UK universities for bursaries

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Report shows Brookes performing well in promoting bursaries to support lower income students.

Oxford Brookes has been singled out as one of the UK's best universities for promoting bursaries and scholarships to support lower income students at university in an official report by the Office for Fair Access (OFFA).

OFFA's monitoring report for the year 2007/08 shows Brookes is performing ahead of most other universities by:

  • Spending more than 30% of its 'top-up' fee income on bursaries and scholarships compared to a sector average of 21%
  • Ensuring more than 90% of students eligible for financial support at Brookes claim their award. This is again above the sector average

More than 1400 students from lower income and other under-represented groups received a Brookes bursary or scholarship in 2007/8. In total, the University has provided support to 4300 students since top-up fees were introduced in 2006.

The university spent over £2.5 million on bursaries and scholarships for these students last year.

The bursary which students from lower-income backgrounds receive varies but is generally worth around £1000 a year.

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Janet Beer, said: 'This report endorses the work going on at Brookes to help as many students as possible gain access to a top quality education.

'The university offers a range of scholarships and bursaries - each recognising students' individual circumstances and talents.

'I'm pleased that Brookes is continuing to make big strides in this area with a strong focus on breaking down barriers to Higher Education.'

The Community Scholarship scheme is among the awards Brookes offers and is worth £1000 a year. The University also provides a scholarship of up to £2000 a year for students who are awarded 3As at A level (or equivalent).

This month the Vice-Chancellor held a ceremony for 50 students from across Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire who were nominated by their school or college for showing exceptional potential - through becoming role models, overcoming personal or social difficulties or showing outstanding commitment to their studies.

One community scholarship recipient was 20-year-old Kirsty Harris who attended Lord Williams' School in Thame.

Despite health problems during her A-levels, Kirsty went on to gain 3 straight A's in Psychology, Sociology and Health and Social Care. She has also received a scholarship in recognition of Academic Excellence.

Kirsty, who is now studying Anthropology and Sociology at Brookes, said: 'It means an awful lot to achieve the scholarships... I had heart problems and didn't realise it until I was studying for my AS levels. I started collapsing a lot and it meant that I was missing a lot of time at school, so the community scholarship was for overcoming that barrier. It will definitely help with books and things for my course.'

Last year the University was awarded the Times Higher Education magazine 'best student support' package for its community scholarship scheme.