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Imperial confirms 4,000 bursaries for poorest students


External Sites:
-Office for Fair Access website
(Imperial College is not responsible for the content of these external internet sites)

Under embargo for
00.01 GMT
Thursday 17 March

Study Support Bursaries of up to £16,000 over a four year degree course or £12,000 over three years are at the heart of Imperial College London's plan to ensure financial concerns do not dissuade the best students from applying to study science, engineering or medicine.

Student's in the library

The bursaries will open up opportunities for the poorest undergraduate students by helping to cover living costs and maintenance while they study at Imperial. The scheme will run alongside the introduction of higher tuition fees in 2006 when Imperial will charge fees of £3,000 for all courses, to be paid back after graduation when salary reaches a set level.

Study Support Bursaries build on Imperial's ongoing widening participation schemes, which will be championed at a senior level by a new Director of Access. The Director will oversee and develop the Colleges outreach activities with the particular aim of expanding school-based activities.

Imperial staff and students regularly visit schools in every London borough, encouraging them to consider sciences, engineering and medicine at university. The College's 30 year old Pimlico Connection scheme and the Inspire scheme place students and post-doctoral fellows in schools to provide inspiration and role models for young people (see Notes to Eds).

Sir Richard Sykes, Rector of Imperial College London, said:

"If you are from a poor family and few if any of your relatives go to university its not surprising that you might think a degree is too expensive for you. We want the best students to come and study at Imperial and with our bursary scheme we are making sure that we capture talent that might otherwise be lost because of financial concerns.

"Combined with a number of schemes already in place and coordinated by our new Director of Access, these bursaries will be a vital part of our efforts to make an Imperial College education available to anyone who can benefit from it.

"Study Support Bursaries will be an extra incentive for those who are less well off so I am very pleased that the Office for Fair Access has accepted our submission and agreed to our plans."

All students who receive a Higher Education Maintenance Grant will be guaranteed some level of bursary. The maximum £4,000 per year will be available to students who receive the full Maintenance Grant and who also achieve at least three A grades at A-level or equivalent.

Eligible students will receive a base amount dependent on their level of Maintenance Grant. The maximum base amount will be at least £2,700 in the first year of the scheme. They may then be eligible for the boost to £4,000 rewarding exceptional performance by those who achieve the highest grades at A-level or equivalent in at least three subjects. A boost of £200 will also be available to those who receive a Maintenance Grant that is less than the maximum, but who come to the College with the top grades.

The College calculates that around 33 per cent of students will benefit from the scheme. In 2004 the average entrant to Imperial had two As and a B at A level and around 60 per cent of entrants gained three A grades.

Imperials Access Agreement was agreed today with the Office for Fair Access (OFFA).

Further information is available online at: www.imperial.ac.uk/bursaries

-ends-

For further information contact:

Abigail Smith
Imperial College London Press Office
Tel: 020 7594 6701
Email: abigail.smith@imperial.ac.uk

Notes to editors:

About Study Support Bursaries

The maximum bursary will be available to students who:

  • are assessed as 'Home' by both Imperial College and their Local Education Authority (or other awarding body)
  • are in receipt of the full Higher Education Maintenance Grant
  • have the highest grade at A-level (or equivalent) in at least three subjects
  • receive and accept a firm offer for an undergraduate course by the UCAS deadline in May

The College estimates it will use around £0.9million (30 per cent) from the additional fee income to fund Study Support Bursaries and the Director of Access in the first year of the scheme (2006), rising to around £4.5 million from 2011.

  • The estimate for basic living costs for a single student studying at one of Imperial's London campuses is a minimum of £7,500 per academic year.
  • The maximum Study Support Bursary of £4,000 plus Government assistance will give undergraduate students from the poorest backgrounds a total of around £10,800 per year.
  • This figure includes the Government's Higher Education Maintenance Grant of £2,700 available to the poorest students.
  • Students living away from home will also be eligible for a student loan (up to £4,095 in 2004-05).

As a result of its commitment to outreach work and the Study Support Bursary scheme, the College expects to increase the number and proportion of students from under-represented who apply to it. In 2004-05, 13.2% of applicants were from the socio-economic groups: supervisory and technical occupations, routine occupations and semi-routine occupations.

Widening participation activities at Imperial

Activities include:

SCHOOL VISITS: Co-ordinated 250 school visits by staff to give HE counselling - including help with mock interviews, filling in UCAS forms, writing personal statements.

PIMLICO CONNECTION STUDENT TUTORING SCHEME. Last year, 100 Imperial students reached 4,300 Years 5-12 (Age 10-17) London schoolchildren.

eMENTORING for prospective medical students.

INSPIRE SCHEME: Post-doctoral science researchers from Imperial help to deliver science lessons, giving pupils access to cutting edge scientific knowledge and fresh enthusiasm for their subject. The Imperial researchers study towards a postgraduate teaching qualification while school teachers benefit from having direct access to subject specialists. Funded by a £1 million commitment from GlaxoSmithKline plc.

AIMHIGHER activities to raise aspirations in all subject areas for ages 7-18.

MASTERCLASSES: Year 12 (Age 17-18). Prizewinners from the College's Masterclass series represented UK school science at the INTEL International Science Fair in Cleveland, Ohio in May 2003. Affiliation to this prestigious Fair was conferred in recognition of the College's exemplary work in Widening Participation in the sciences.

GIFTED AND TALENTED SUMMER SCHOOLS: Residential and non-residential courses for ages ranging from Years 6-11 (Age 11-16).

WISE: WOMEN INTO SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING: Residential courses for Years 9-12 (Age 17-18). ROBOTICS events for all age groups.

GETSET (Girls Entering Tomorrow's Science, Engineering & Technology) and BETSET (Boys Entering Tomorrow's Science Engineering & Technology): Year 9 students (Age 14-15).

METRIC: A collection of free, interactive Internet resources for A-level students aimed at bridging the gap between school and university mathematics launched in June 2003. Designed to give help and encouragement to talented students, Metric offers self-test exercises, online tutorials and interactive explorations of mathematical concepts that can be used in teacher-led sessions or for self-study. metric.ma.ac.uk

About Imperial College London

Consistently rated in the top three UK university institutions, Imperial College London is a world leading science-based university whose reputation for excellence in teaching and research attracts students (10,000) and staff (5,000) of the highest international quality.

Innovative research at the College explores the interface between science, medicine, engineering and management and delivers practical solutions, which enhance the quality of life and the environment - underpinned by a dynamic enterprise culture.
Website: www.imperial.ac.uk

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