The University has decided to increase its total bursary budget by 9% in order to accommodate government changes in bursary brackets, while maintaining the current levels of support enjoyed by those in the lowest bracket. Under the new scheme no students on existing bursaries will suffer financially, while many will benefit.
YUSU President Anne-Marie Canning was delighted with the changes implemented. “The key achievement is a 9% rise in the bursary budget for 2008/09 and this shows a significant commitment to social justice in ensuring that the poorer students have the highest level of support,” she said.
“The changes support more students with more money, a bigger budget and a wider bracket of income. I think it is a victory for students, and it is also nice to know that the University really does care about us,” she added.
The initial bracket changes proposed by the government will largely benefit the majority of students by raising the cut-off amount for bursaries. However, decreases in each category could have potentially left poorer students with less financial support than previously.
The University raised the total bursary budget from £781,000 to £827,000 in order to accommodate the changes, a decision Canning described as “brave” in lieu of its non-conformity with governmental changes.
Overall, the changes are set to be beneficial to lower-middle and middle income students, while maintaining current levels of funding for low-income students.
Over 150 eligible students have not claimed financial support this year, according to the Student Financial Support Unit.