3 March 2017
Redbrick uni gives scholarships intended for poorer teens to private school pupils
The scheme was created to help pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds get into the university, but a third of places have been given to private school students.A scheme set up to help poorer pupils get into Bristol University has been helping private school pupils gain uni places instead.
You might remember that back in December, Bristol university announced they’d be trialling a new scholarship program called the ‘Bristol Scholars Project’.
The scheme was introduced in an effort to diversify the university’s student intake, after it was revealed they have more students from private schools than Cambridge!
The uni said they’d be lowering entry requirements by two grades for disadvantaged students from every local school in Bristol, giving priority to pupils who had been in care or were eligible for free school meals.
Students admitted to the uni through the scheme with a household income of £25,000 or less would also benefit from one year’s free tuition and an additional £3,750 on top of maintenance loans to help with living costs now that grants have been scrapped.
However, the uni is now facing harsh criticism after a Bristol student newspaper revealed that 33% of the scholarship places were given to pupils from private schools who, for personal reasons such as ill health or family difficulties, didn’t get their predicted A level results.
Why was Bristol lowering entry requirements?
According to UCAS, pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds are now four times less likely to apply for university, and the gap between rich and poor students is wider than ever before.
One in four children in Bristol live in poverty, but the university has one of the lowest percentages of students from state schools in the UK – even less than Cambridge.
Bristol’s scholarship scheme was therefore created as a way to give more local pupils a chance of being accepted to the Redbrick uni, and to make their student intake more diverse.
What the uni has to say…
Bristol have defended their decision to give away some of the spaces to private school pupils by claiming that “at heart” the scheme is just there to give students a second chance if their “potential is not recognised in their predicted A Level results.”
They argue that whilst the chosen students weren’t from disadvantaged backgrounds, they had experienced “ill health or family difficulties” that had impacted their A Level results.
Good luck with that goal of diversifying student intake then, Bristol!
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