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From the Margins to the Mainstream; Embedding Widening Participation in Higher Education

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From the Margins to the Mainstream; Embedding Widening Participation in Higher Education

Postby Dave the Explosive Newt on Fri Jan 06, 2006 9:49 am

http://bookshop.universitiesuk.ac.uk/do ... ummary.pdf

It's a executive summary, which sounds exciting enough to make me read it. I was casually wondering what initiatives our union (and indeed university) has in place to support disadvantaged/lower socieconomic class/whathaveyou students making the transition into higher education?

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Re:

Postby munchingfoo on Fri Jan 06, 2006 1:11 pm

I am quite interested in what has to be said about this too. I love St Andrews and have secured a well funded phd that will allow me to spend another few years here but had I been applying for my first time as an undergraduate right now I wouldn't have been able to give St Andrews a second glance.

Rent prices have increased by around 40-50% since I started here. (a figure which would be illegal in any long term contract enviroment) What has the union done to help avoid/eliviate this situation, particularly for lower income families and in specifically within university accomodation. (we can't really hold private landlords responsible for increasing diversity)

Top up Fee's, along side loans, brought in by those who benefited from a full grant system, have made some consider if the leap start university gives them will indeed be more profitable than 4 years of on the job experience.

Is any thought given to quality of secondary school education as well as just grades? I mean, a kid going to a good public secondary school gaining six A's isn't necessarilly going to be a better student than one who got 4A's and a B as a state school. In most cases you do indeed get what you paid for. (not insinuating that they pay for their mark, just a better standard of teacher and hands on support which will always yeild better results) I appreciate this is a university matter but the union is well positioned to steer such decision from afar. Will also asks about the uni so this is relevant either way.

Students studying in London get an extra loan/grant from their LEA. Has any thought been given to contacting LEA's asking for the same dispensation be made for St Andrews students given that we have been classified as one of the most costly universities to study at? (Can't remember the source but it was on here a while ago. Even without a source it's clear from rent prices here/in London and average wage/supply of jobs here/London that this is the case)

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Re:

Postby Ben Reilly on Fri Jan 06, 2006 2:17 pm

This is one of the areas that the demarcation between SSS and the SA needs to be sorted out in. There are ongoing discussions about it at the moment.

Andy, as to having it declared as high cost in the same way as London, it's not up to the individual LEA. I'll check out the details, but so far as I remember, it's actually in statute that it's London, rather than just being a high cost area.

As to the Accommodation side of things- within the present system, there is probably going to be more means testing for help.
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Re:

Postby Ben Reilly on Fri Jan 06, 2006 3:26 pm

Sorry, I was wrong.

It was a statutory instrument, rather than primary legislation, that set it as London.

It's been tried before to get it changed, but the Government has stated that London is a special case, and nobody else has shown that they are as well. Of course, they have not stated what it would need to be taken as a special case.

For students starting in September, things will be slightly better, as there will be no up-front tuition fee and there will be the increase in loan entitlement that will, I believe, be able to continuing students as well.

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