Andrew Smith MP

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Andrew speaks out against cuts to the Student Opportunity Fund

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Andrew has today spoken out against government plans to slash the Student Opportunity Fund by as much as 60%.

The £327m fund is paid to universities to help them run widening participation programmes to reach out to the most disadvantaged students. It is a key funding stream for university access programmes which seek to boost social mobility. Such a cut is likely to put at risk the ability of universities to run such programmes on anything like the present scale.

The amount of funding each university receives is based upon the number of students from disadvantaged backgrounds that they recruit, thus cutting it would disproportionately affect those universities which tend to recruit students from the most disadvantaged backgrounds. 

These further cuts from Vince Cable's Department of Business, Innovation and Skills come on top of the £150m cuts to the National Scholarship Programme.

Andrew said: "This torpedoes the government's claimed commitment to social mobility through higher education. Many universities run fantastic outreach programmes but these cuts to the Student Opportunity Fund will mean universities will not be able to afford the staff and other costs to make these as effective as they need to be. I support the NUS in opposing these cuts."

"I have written to Vince Cable expressing my concerns about these cuts."

 

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