Universities UK responds to OFFA report on bursaries

Universities UK has welcomed the findings of the Office for Fair Access (OFFA) report looking into the impact, awareness and take-up of university bursaries and scholarships in England.

The report finds that bursaries are helping to overcome financial barriers to higher education but that more needs to be done to improve awareness and understanding of this support among prospective students. 

Professor Steve Smith, President of Universities UK, said: "This evidence that bursaries are helping to promote greater access to university for lower income students is encouraging. All universities are firmly committed to providing generous support for lower income students to help ensure that no one is deterred from entering higher education on financial grounds. The take-up of bursaries among students from the lowest income groups has improved year-on-year and, as the report suggests, this is expected to continue.

"It's clear that yet more work needs to be done to ensure that all advisors working in schools and colleges have as much information as possible about university bursaries. Universities have made significant progress in building effective partnerships with schools and colleges which will help improve awareness about what's on offer. Recent steps to improve the information, advice and guidance to young people will also help ensure that all students are made aware of the financial support available to them."


1. The report, 'Awareness, take-up and impact of institutional bursaries and scholarships in England: Summary and recommendations', was commissioned by OFFA and carried out by Professor Claire Callender of Birkbeck, University of London and the National Institute of Economic and Social Research. It will be available from: www.offa.org.uk/publications/

2. Professor Smith represented the university sector on the Prime Minister's National Council for Educational Excellence (NCEE) established in 2007 to look into links between schools and higher education. Last year's NCEE's report highlighted the current links already in place between universities, schools and colleges and acknowledged the importance of prospective students receiving targeted, high quality advice about higher education. Get the latest press release on this area

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