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University of Oxford Bursaries Are Set to Increase for Low-Income Students

University of Oxford

The University of Oxford will be increasing bursaries given to students from low-income backgrounds, in an aim to increase inclusivity.

From 2020, students from low-income backgrounds could be receiving up to £5,000 per year in non-repayable bursaries. The decision came after the university expressed the importance of attracting students from “under-represented and disadvantaged backgrounds”.

Last year, leading British universities Oxford and Cambridge were accused of being socially exclusive and failing to recruit eligible students from English state schools.

In December, the University of Oxford issued a statement saying that it was “very aware” that it “must work harder”.

Currently, the university provides 25 percent of its students with approximately £8m’s worth of financial support, though students who are eligible for the Moritz-Heyman Scholarship will start receiving more funds than the current £3,700 bursary.

Students whose parents or guardians earn up to £27,500 are presently receiving between £3,700 and £1,700 – a figure that will also increase to between £5,000 and £4,200 in 2020.  

Oxbridge ‘over-recruits’ from private schools in shocking numbers

Amid claims that Oxford and Cambridge are ‘too socially exclusive’, the Sutton Trust mobility charity says that leading universities are attracting a limited range of talent. New research by the charity has revealed that Oxford and Cambridge universities are enrolling more students from eight top schools than almost 3,000 other English state schools put together.

The study observed Oxbridge admissions between 2015 and 2017, and found that mostly private schools, with a couple of top-performing state schools and colleges, disproportionately dominated the number of places awarded.  

Trust founder Sir Peter Lampl said all young people needed a “fair chance”, after the study had shown that pupils from eight schools filled 1,310 Oxford and Cambridge places over the three years, in comparison with 1,220 from 2,900 other schools.

Last year, Labour MP David Lammy launched an attack on the University of Oxford following a report which revealed that just 11 percent of new undergraduates to the university in 2017 were from disadvantaged backgrounds, with white British applicants being twice as likely to be accepted than their black counterparts.

Oxford representatives put the findings down to the applications the university received, with Samina Khan, director of undergraduate admissions stating that, “We are not getting the right number of black people with the talent to apply to us.”

Oxford’s Student Union also stressed a belief that “there are large and unacceptable attainment gaps in schools, which greatly disadvantage black pupils and those from low-income backgrounds, among other under-represented groups”.    

Oxford doing all they can to “support undergraduates from under-represented and disadvantaged backgrounds”

Dr Jane Gover, the university’s director of student fees and funding, said that “there’s been really strong feedback” from Oxford students who wish to receive more “upfront funding to help them in their time as a student”, adding that it’s the sole reason they’re “increasing those funding levels”.

She also states that: "This is a really huge part of the university work to attract and support undergraduates from under-represented and disadvantaged backgrounds.

“We don’t want to see students being put off because they’re worried about the cost of living, or their ability to engage with university life.”

Last year, Oxford also announced it was expanding a program of spring and summer schools targeted specifically at academically talented students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

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Written by Belkis Megraoui
The Online Content Writer of TopUniversities.com, Belkis pitches and publishes articles for students and graduates across the globe and has a zeal for history and a natural flair for the arts and sports. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English Language & Communication with Journalism from the University of Hertfordshire and is a native speaker of the Arabic language.

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