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Taking action in higher education

Complicated system blamed for £24m unspent student support money

24 January 2008 | last updated: 14 December 2015

UCU today said the 12,000 students who missed out on £19m worth of financial support were let down by an over-complicated bursaries system.

A report on access agreements for 2006-07 from the Office for Fair Access (OFFA) reveals there was a £24m underspend of money earmarked for student support. A £19m underspend on financial support for students and a £5m underspend on outreach work to attract students from non-traditional backgrounds to university.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'The complicated system of bursaries, grants and fees is no doubt confusing many students and is clearly not working well. Surplus pots of cash in institutions' bursary pools are just not acceptable at a time when students need financial support more than ever before. The system desperately needs an overhaul and information on how the 12,000 students who missed out can retrospectively claim the support they are entitled to must be made easily available.

'Recent UCAS figures revealed a drop in students from the lowest socio-economic groups going to university, yet £5m earmarked for encouraging those very people to apply has also not been spent.'