OFFA Outcomes Monitoring- Getting more cash in students’ pockets
The debate about the amount of money going in to students’ pockets is critical- NUS believes that students need cash in their pockets, not money spent on fee waivers; and whilst spending on access is important, no institution should be spending less on putting cash in students’ pockets in 2015 than they were in 2009/10! Data out today from OFFA should help you achieve this locally.
Since the introduction of higher fees in 2006-07 the Office for Fair Access (OFFA) has been responsible for promoting and safeguarding fair access to higher education (HE) for lower income and other under-represented groups.
Each year it is required to produce a monitoring report which shows how well institutions are doing at delivering access agreements- the report shows how the sector is meeting its access agreement obligations and what progress is being made to promote and safeguard fair access to HE for students from underrepresented groups. It covers expenditure on bursaries and scholarships for students from lower income backgrounds and other under-represented groups, the number of bursary holders at each institution and expenditure on additional outreach.
English universities and colleges spend around a quarter of their additional fee income on attracting and supporting lower income and other under-represented students. Your institution may be higher or lower and this is worth working out. Data Tables
English universities and colleges spent a total of £395 million on access measures in 2009-10. This includes
§ £356 million (22.6 per cent of their higher fee income) on bursaries and scholarships for students from lower income and other under-represented groups
§ Over 402,000 such students received a bursary or scholarship in this period.
§ Three-quarters (75 per cent) of bursary and scholarship expenditure was spent on students from the very poorest backgrounds
§ This helps more than 271,000 students in receipt of a full state maintenance grant. On average, students in this group received a bursary of £935 a year.
There are considerable differences in the average bursary or scholarship being issued, largely because the amounts available to institutions do not match the demand from poorer students. The average in this table was calculated by dividing the total spent on bursaries and scholarships and dividing it by the number of "OFFA Countable" students in each mission group.
1994 Group £1029
Guild HE £769
Russell Group £1397
The Past versus the future
The most interesting exercise is to compare what institutions were spending in 2009/10 with their predictions for 2015 in their recently submitted access agreements.
2015 09/10 Actual
1994 Group £49,069 £45,404
Guild HE £13,036 £18,231
Million+ £46,758 £72,080
Russell Group £90,493 £82,155
Alliance £71,493 £95,276
Unaligned £26,954 £41,345
TOTAL £297,802 £354,492
Our press release on today’s figures:
£55m DROP IN BURSARIES FOR VULNERABLE STUDENTS BY 2015
EMBARGOED UNTIL 00:01 THURSDAY 29 SEPTEMBER 2011
Analysis of figures from the Office for Fair Access (OFFA) by the National Union of Students (NUS) shows that Government proposals will see bursary and scholarship spending on university students fall by £55m between the 2009/10 academic year and the 2015/16 academic year.
OFFA figures released today (Thursday) show that a total of £354,492,000 was spent on scholarships and bursaries in 09/10 a sum that will decrease to £297,802,000 by 15/16. The decrease comes despite Government promises to increase student support along with tuition fees and shows that none of the additional £150m National Scholarship Programme funds will reach students’ pockets and will instead be used to fund £215m of fee waivers.
Waivers have been heavily criticised by NUS and others because the benefit does not reach students whilst they are studying but instead benefits higher earning graduates as they pay off the last of their student loans.
Commenting on the OFFA’s 2009/10 monitoring report, Liam Burns, NUS President, said:
“The haphazard formation of student support in universities means that those universities with the best record of recruiting those from non-traditional backgrounds have the least money available to spend per student. Universities with poorer access records misleadingly claim success because they have more funds available to a very small pool of students.”
On the drop in bursary spending, Liam Burns said:
“The Government are offering £150m of scholarships with one hand and taking every penny and more back with the other to fund the fee waivers they’ll use to keep their borrowing down.
“Not enough money is reaching the pockets of vulnerable students when they need it and until the Government admits they’ve got it badly wrong on student support vulnerable young people will struggle to make up the shortfall.”
Also covered in today’s report is performance on widening access. A quarter of English universities failed to meet their targets to admit substantially more disadvantaged students last year, the Guardian reported this morning. Is yours one of them?
The 23 institutions include universities and other higher education bodies with degree-awarding powers. A further 21 colleges that offer degrees also failed to reach their targets.
You can check your figures in the report here
What can we do locally?
The debate about the amount of money going in to students’ pockets is critical- we NUS believes that students need cash in their pockets, not money spent on fee waivers; and whilst spending on access is important, no institution should be spending less on putting cash in students’ pockets in 2015 than they were in 2009/10!
You can download full data tables that enable you to construct your case for more money in students’ pockets here. You can also get OFFA’s tables and report here.
If you need help or assistance in deciphering the numbers or making the case contact us at NUS- and remember to feed back on your efforts and successes.
§ Find your institutions statistics and compare with other institutions of similar size and make up, as well as comparing spend in 2009/10 with predictions for 2015
§ Organise a meeting with your institution to discuss how they plan to review their bursary schemes to get more money in students’ pockets