The government’s Spending Review includes plans to cut the National Scholarship Programme from £150m to £50m in 2015-2016, according to the BBC.
The National Scholarship Programme had been announced in February 2011. The raising of tuition fees to up to 9.000 pound had prompted student protests and warnings that poorer students would be excluded from university. The scholarship scheme had been launched as a response to such fears, with promises that fifty thousand students from poorer backgrounds would receive funding.
The Department of Business, Innovation and Skilss says that higher fees have not deterred poorer students, as applications by them have continued to increase.The switch to support to postgraduate funding reflects growing concerns about students not continuing beyond graduate level.
The National Union of Students said the decision ‘effectively cancelled the National Scholarship Programme’, which it said would have provided ‘small bursaries for the poorest undergraduates in higher education’.