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Financial support in English universities: the case for a national bursary scheme

  • 18 September 2008
  • By Juliet Chester and Bahram Bekhradnia
  • HEPI number 37

The introduction of variable fees for full-time Home and EU undergraduates in English universities has been accompanied by significant additional expenditure by universities on means-tested bursaries and on other financial aid for undergraduate students. However, this market is a highly distorted one, with serious consequences. This report therefore assesses the rationale for a national bursary scheme, by considering the extent and nature of the existing problems. It concludes that there is a strong case for introducing a national bursary scheme, which would provide eligible students with a guaranteed bursary from pooled institutional income – and promote greater affordability for students – but which would nevertheless allow individual universities to develop their own financial support schemes.

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