Southampton’s Access Agreement provides even more choice for students
The University of Southampton continues to make excellent progress in reaching out to and supporting young people from under-represented backgrounds who have the potential to benefit from higher education.
According to a performance report published today (Thursday 6 June) on English university access agreements monitored by the Office of Fair Access (OFFA) during 2011-12, Southampton committed over £4.3 million of the £24.2 million income it received from tuition fees to bursaries and scholarships for students.
The report, published by OFFA and the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), also confirms that the University devoted £658,000 to providing outreach activities for prospective students, an increase of nearly £400,000 on the previous year. During 2011-12 alone, nearly 9,000 young people from across the region took part in ‘Learn with US’ activities, including the Year 10 Challenge.
Southampton’s Access Agreement covers all UK and EU undergraduate students and sets out the measures it has in place to raise aspirations and to ensure equality of opportunity for all who have the potential to benefit from higher education.
The Agreement specifies the funding that the University has committed to its highly successful and extensive outreach programme, including ‘Learn with US’ which is designed to raise and realise the future aspirations of young people. Working in partnership with schools and colleges, the programme aims to improve progression, retention and attainment through a series of on- and off-campus activities in which academic staff and student ambassadors play an important part. ‘Learn with US’ is responding to the increase in demand from schools across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight for the University of Southampton to be an aspirational choice for their gifted and talented students.
During 2012-13, Southampton increased its commitment to outreach even further by investing £1 million in related activities, and so far this year the University has worked with over 10,000 young people and 1,500 parents.
The Access Agreement provides Southampton students with one of the UK’s most generous and flexible programmes of support, tailored to their circumstances and needs, including partial fee waivers, bursaries or a combination of the two.
Amongst the bursaries available are Care Leavers Bursaries of £1,000 per annum which the University will double to £2,000 per annum for next year. In addition, the University will make 300 awards of £1,000 each to students from backgrounds with low household incomes in Hampshire or the Isle of Wight who progress to the University through the ‘Access to Southampton’ (A2S) programme.
Second-year History student Michael Warne, who came through the Access to Southampton programme in 2011, feels the scheme was key to helping him make the transition into university. “The overall experience of the A2S scheme was great,” he enthused. “I gained an understanding of what university was about and the way it worked. The jump from college to university assessment cannot be underestimated. This scheme really gave me a head start when it came to starting the work for real.”
Students also benefit from enhanced opportunities for internships and work placements through the University’s careers service in which Southampton is increasing its investment over the next two years.
Professor Alex Neill, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Education said: “The University of Southampton offers one of the most generous student support packages in the country.
“Our Access Agreement is designed to provide the opportunity for talented students, regardless of their background, to fulfil their potential by studying at one of the world’s leading universities,” he continued. “We will continue to focus on providing our students with clear choices as to how they accept our generous support.”