Clearly, many Institutions are allocating Bursaries from their
general Access Fund and the eligibility criteria vary from
Institution to Institution. I have checked with Shawana in DfES and
she confirms that in order to be eligible for assistance from the
Access Hardship Fund (whether it be for a Bursary or an assessed
grant), a student must have applied for his/her maximum entitlement
to the Student Loan and have received the first instalment and also
have taken out a Hardship Loan, unless the student comes under one of
the HSL exempt categories.
Our students selected as Bursary recipients so far come under the HSL
exempt category or they have chosen to take out the HSL, having
illustrated need, but we are also considering allocating Bursaries to
students with low parental income. Shawana confirms that we would
need to ensure that such students take out a HSL (minimum amount if
appropriate) if they do not satisfy the exemption criteria.
Insisting that a vulnerable student takes out a further loan before
receiving a Bursary does not appear to be sensible but other than
widely interpreting "students with significant existing financial
commitments, including debts incurred before entering HE", I can't
see a way around it!
As HSLs will still be with us in 2002-3, Shawana has agreed to
discuss the issue with Nina Curley and suggest that the exemption
criteria could perhaps be broadened to include students with low-
income families (perhaps in receipt of means-tested Benefits would be
the crucial factor).
How have other Institutions got around the current situation? I'd be
very pleased to receive feed-back either on or off-list.
Head of Student Advisory Service
+44(0)29 2087 4179
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