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National bursary scheme proposed

The Higher Education Policy Institute said the current bursary system means there is a vast chasm between the levels of bursarial assistance students are given. HEPI found this system to be unfair to both students and universities.
HEPI Director Bahram Bekhradnia said the problem with the current system is that the financial aid a student receives is not necessarily related to what they need, but to the number of other students at the university also claiming bursaries.

With the current system, CollegeÂ’s have an allocated amount of money to spend on student bursaries. This means that the more students apply for funding, the more people the money must be distributed amongst, and thus each student receives a smaller amount. This, said Mr Bekhradnia, means that there is a great incentive for poor students to attend universities where there are fewer poor students, in order to receive larger bursary payments.

Mr Bekhradnia said the new system would mean all universities would put their bursary funds into one central pot from which bursaries would be given to students depending upon personal needs.

It is also believed it could help ensure that all money intended for student bursaries reaches the students. The current system sees millions going unclaimed each year by students who are not made aware of the funding available to them.

The review has received backing from both the NUS and the Universities and Colleges Union.

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