The University of Portsmouth continues to offer excellent support to students from lower-income families, according to the latest report from the Office for Fair Access (OFFA).
In recent years the University has increased its investment and commitment to bursaries and activities aimed at widening participation, accounting for nearly one quarter of its additional fee income.
OFFA’s latest annual monitoring report, published today, reveals that 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.
The University of Portsmouth was above average on spending to support lower income and other under-represented students, with no number limits on the number of eligible students who can receive a bursary.
Deputy vice-chancellor, Rebecca Bunting, said that the report highlights the university’s track record in widening participation. She emphasised its continued investment and commitment to helping those people from groups that are currently under-represented in higher education.
She said: “We have always invested substantially in this area to enable us to offer the same level of financial support to all eligible students from lower income families.”
The University runs a large and varied programme of activities to attract and inspire hundreds of students from the region from lower income and under-represented groups. This work includes its popular membership club for 11-16 year olds, UP for IT. Every year around 1000 11-16 year-olds experience taster days on campus about 100 take part in residential summer schools. Current students give up their own time to act as mentors, becoming role models for many local young pupils.
A scheme which invites sixth form students into each faculty to experience taster lectures in a range of subjects is now in its third year and a programme of events for younger pupils in over 30 schools across Portsmouth and South-East Hampshire continues to flourish.
Ms Bunting said: “Reaching people from lower-income backgrounds remains a key focus for the university and we will continue to invest in outreach activities and bursaries. It’s crucial that we continue to communicate the value of a university education and the knowledge, opportunities and experiences it brings.”