Outreach Vs Bursaries
The business secretary Vince Cable has been supported by Professor Ebdon from the Office for Fair Access (OFFA) in reiterating that the offer of outreach to potential university goers, is a much more successful tool in encouraging people to go to university than giving out increased bursaries.
Although the tuition fees for universities in England have now reached around £9,000 per year, OFFA have declared that the best way to encourage more people to attend university is to target outreach particularly to those in less well off areas. Professor Ebdon from OFFA has declared that building links with schools, so that poorer students have same opportunities in the future as those from richer backgrounds are more important than bursary increases.
The university admissions chief is adamant that offering potential students more money is what the students themselves want. This is countered by Professor Ebdons approach that outreach raises pupils expectations and aspirations, and helps to enforce the message that they can fit in.
The biggest difficulty with encouraging universities to accept applicants from poorer backgrounds is with the more selective universities. All universities are required to prove to OFFA that they are actively encouraging students from less well funded backgrounds. They believe that ensuring children do the right GCSEs and A-Levels is more effective in the long run than fee-waivers and bursaries.