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Educ. Sci. 2016, 6(1), 5; doi:10.3390/educsci6010005

Deserving Poor: Are Higher Education Bursaries Going to the Right Students?

UCL Institute of Education, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT, UK
Academic Editors: Anna Vignoles and Neil Murray
Received: 4 September 2015 / Revised: 26 January 2016 / Accepted: 29 January 2016 / Published: 24 February 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Widening Participation in Higher Education)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [487 KB, uploaded 24 February 2016]   |  

Abstract

After the abolition of student maintenance grants in 2016, higher education bursaries will be the major source of non-repayable aid for poor students in England, with £300 m spent per year. The aims of the bursary system were never explicitly laid out by government, making it challenging to evaluate this unique form of aid. In this paper, I examine the bursary system on the grounds of equity and efficiency, using a unique dataset collected from 22 universities. I show that the bursary system is inequitable; as a direct consequence of the decentralized nature of the system, there are vast inequalities in aid receipt among poor students. Nevertheless, I find that the poorest, most able students tend to receive the most bursary aid, suggesting the system could be seen as efficient. Clearer guidance from government on the purpose of bursaries is required in order to understand whether the system is meeting its aims, and how it could be improved. View Full-Text
Keywords: widening participation; higher education funding policies; higher education bursaries; decentralisation widening participation; higher education funding policies; higher education bursaries; decentralisation
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Wyness, G. Deserving Poor: Are Higher Education Bursaries Going to the Right Students? Educ. Sci. 2016, 6, 5.

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