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University of Liverpool should plug the gap from the NSP budget cuts

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Background information:

On the 28th November 2013 the government announced they would be slashing the National Scholarship Program from £150m to £50m. This has meant that all institutions have had to reassess the bursaries they offer. Following successful lobbying from Liverpool Guild of Students over the last few years the University of Liverpool have offered a wide range of bursaries, more of which can be found here.

The University is required to submit its proposals for the new offer on Monday 16th December and we want to demonstrate student support for keeping the level of scholarships and bursaries high enough to support students to excel here in Liverpool. Sign below if you agree the University should plug the gap left by government cuts and lobby the government to increase provision.

Dear Vice Chancellor

We the undersigned believe the University should cover the reduction in Government funding from the National Scholarship Program andoffer all bursaries, as outlined in the initial 2014/15 access agreement, as cash payments. We have taken this position because we believe it is best for students and the institution, for the following reasons.

Current applicants’ expectations - We are concerned that as we are mid application cycle applicants will already have familiarised themselves with the University’s bursary offer and will have an expectation of receiving a certain level of award. Liverpool has led the way in the Russell Group for widening participation, and we believe that any reduction in bursaries, or their size could jeopardise this.

We are also concerned that any attempt to notify applicants of changes is unlikely to reach everyone, and so applicants may accept a place at the University on the basis of a bursary offer that is no longer in place. This could have an impact on retention and student satisfaction.

Increasing financial awareness - Linked to the above point, we are aware that students, and their parents, are increasingly concerned about living costs. We are concerned that, as students rightly become more aware of the different institutional bursaries on offer to them, that they will increasingly use this as a factor in their decision making. If the University does not offer a competitive bursary then this may make it increasingly difficult to hit the challenging recruitment targets.

Retention and performance - NUS research has indicated that the more students are concerned about their finances, the more difficult it is for them to achieve academic excellence. It is clear from this that, where we can reduce financial pressures on students, it will help them reach their potential and enhance the University.

We are aware that, for many students, the greatest barrier to accessing and excelling at a Russell Group University are financial pressures. We would urge the University to lead the way in lobbying the Government to provide the correct resources to support students’living costs.

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