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University pledges £1.3 million to support disadvantaged students – University of Reading

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University pledges £1.3 million to support disadvantaged students

Release Date 17 March 2005

Around 1,000 new students from low income backgrounds will benefit from non-repayable bursaries of up to £1,300 when they join The University of Reading in 2006, it was announced today when the Office for Fair Access (OFFA) approved Reading's Access Agreement. In line with the vast majority of universities, Reading will be charging £3,000 tuition fees from 2006, but Reading's bursary scheme is more generous than many other institutions. At a maximum of £1,300, the Reading bursary is far higher than the minimum bursary requirement of £300, and it exceeds the 'typical' bursary of around £1,000 being offered across the higher education sector. Professor Gordon Marshall, Vice-Chancellor of The University of Reading, said: "We are obviously delighted that OFFA has approved our access agreement as it is testament to our strong commitment to attracting students from all walks of life. "It is my firm belief that everyone, regardless of their financial circumstances, should have a realistic chance of benefiting from a university education. All the staff at Reading have worked incredibly hard to try and come up with a bursaries package that will help as many people as possible. I am certain we have succeeded in doing just that." Estimated figures for 2006 indicate that approximately 12% of the full-time UK undergraduate student population at Reading will be eligible to receive non-repayable bursaries. The University will be allocating at least 25% of its estimated additional income from variable tuition fees to the bursaries and to additional widening participation outreach activities. The University will also be offering other forms of financial support, such as 'pre-entry bursaries' to help applicants from low-income families attend open days, for example. There will also be extra support for disabled students so that they can visit the University prior to applying or accepting an offer. A number of other bursary initiatives are included in Reading's Access Agreement, which will be online at: www.offa.org.uk The University is also currently putting together a range of scholarships for high achievers, which will be worth around £200,000 in total per year. These schemes are likely to benefit those who have excelled at music and sport, as well as the 'pure academic' disciplines. End For media enquiries, please contact Craig Hillsley, The University of Reading press officer, on (tel) 0118 378 7388 or (email) c.hillsley@rdg.ac.uk

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