Call for support to help deprived students become postgraduates

THE DEPUTY vice-chancellor of a Yorkshire university has called for more support for people from deprived backgrounds to allow them to take up post-graduate studies after receiving an overwhelming demand for scholarships.

Sheffield University awarded 95 scholarships to help disadvantaged students to take up postgraduate study in the city. More than 300 eligible people applied for the scholarships of between £5,540 to £13,850.

Successful candidates included those from low income and care backgrounds, people with disabilities, those with 
caring responsibilities, mature students and under-presented groups such as women in engineering.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Paul White, said: “This offer has flagged up huge demand for postgraduate study and now we hope the Government and employers will respond with action and funding.

“If these career opportunities are barred to students from less affluent backgrounds due to cost, it would be a tragedy for our country and a waste of the talent we need in society as a whole.”

Sheffield led a consortium of six universities which offered more than 400 places in a bid to widen access to postgraduate study. The consortium secured a £3m grant from the Higher Education Funding Council for England to look at ways of removing barriers and improving the take-up of postgraduate study.

More than 1,700 eligible people applied for scholarships offered by universities in Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield, Warwick and York.

Sheffield University’s director of strategy, planning and change, Dr Tony Strike, was the consortium’s chairman, and said: “It is telling that we are massively over-subscribed for what is the biggest postgraduate taught scholarship offer the country has seen.

“The message is clear. Home students are not turning away from postgraduate study because they lack the talent or the ambition. When you remove the financial barriers, there is an overwhelming demand to continue to study.”