UWE Bristol is to make one of the largest investments by a UK university with £10.5m to improve widening access

Issue date: 12 July 2011


In its Access Agreement announced today (July 12) UWE will make an annual commitment of £10.5 million to reach out and support students who despite obtaining the qualifications are still missing out on higher education because of their background. This will be one of the largest investments according to the Office for Fair Access (OFFA). In particular students from low income backgrounds, care leavers, access students and disabled students will be able to receive considerable learning and internship support including a package worth £5,000 over their 3 years. UWE will be offering the 4th largest investment by a UK university in terms of bursaries to support these students.

The commitment builds on UWE's partnerships with the region's schools and colleges, and specifically to widen participation among those who might not otherwise aspire to or progress to HE. According to OFFA, UWE is also making one the largest commitments, with £2m, to support students whilst they are studying, including internships, teaching support and bursaries. These initiatives are designed to help students achieve their qualifications and obtain graduate level employment when they graduate.

The £10.5 m access and outreach activity in the University's Access Agreement breaks down as follows.

  • In 12/13 UWE will invest £1,150,000 in outreach activities. Last year the University delivered over 1,000 outreach activities to over 135,000 potential students who could benefit from higher education. These include taster days/campus visits, summer schools, curriculum support such as study skills and master classes, talks and presentations, courses for school and college staff and conferences.
  • A unique feature of UWE's access agreement involves a huge investment of over £1,000,000 in 'Access to Professions' supporting employers helping students gain professional experience which they would otherwise find difficult to gain. Much of this will be invested in paid internships.
  • UWE will also be providing 1,000 students, about 1 in 5, from low income backgrounds, care leavers, access students and disabled students with a package of financial support worth between £3,000 to £5,000.
  • UWE is providing a further £1,000,000 in support for students who might get into financial difficulty
  • UWE is maintaining its support for current students in terms of bursaries
  • Other support will come in the form of UWE's internationally recognised peer assisted learning, leadership programme and advice and guidance

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