Death knell for university bursaries


The University of Lincoln has to shave approximately £5 million of its budget. Photo: Samuel Cox

Bursaries for all but the poorest students are set to become a thing of the past, as the University of Lincoln looks at routes to save money after harsh education funding cuts.

At the Student Council on Thursday, February 4th, it was revealed that the university plans to cut financial help for most students beginning the next academic year.

Under the proposals, all students who do not receive the maximum grant will lose the current bursary, which ranges between £20 and £370, depending on grant total. Those who do receive the maximum will see it reduced from £600 to £329, just £10 over the legally required minimum.

Chris Spendlove, the university’s registrar, said that cuts of 15% are to be expected, which equates to approximately £5 million of the budget. Bursaries cost the university £2 million per year, and with the proposed cuts it would be reduced to £1 million per year.

Spendlove told that the “university faces difficult choices” and that they were aiming to protect the academic services — including staff and facilities — that are available to students.

He said this was “the start of the process and not the final decision”. The university is also looking to “significantly increase” the amount of international students that enrol, in addition to decreasing “background staff” and the possibility of installing renewable energy sources to reduce energy costs.

The Students’ Union said they will oppose any student support cuts and, to minimise the impact on students, have suggested a variety of methods, including a “hardship fund”, reductions in accommodation rent and increased student employment within the university.

Chris Charnley, the SU’s president, said: “We simply oppose cuts in bursaries and any other cuts to higher education. The SU will open up discussions with the university and council to ensure the best possible outcome for students.”

Joe Hicks, an SU student officer and student representative, said the cuts in university funding should reflect the reductions in bursaries. “If the university is facing 15% cuts, then bursaries ought to be cut by 15%.”

Hicks also said somewhat controversially that “cutting staff would be more beneficial than [cutting] bursaries”.

One Response to Death knell for university bursaries

  1. Joe Hicks says:

    Just to confirm: I am also the Business School Liaison Rep and before making the statement regarding staff cutbacks I stated that as the position I was acting under.

    My statement was specifically referring to how students (I had spoken to) would rather cutbacks in staff than in the money they receive directly.

    One student stated to me: “What’s the point in having a good university if we can’t afford to be there,” which although I admit is a valid argument, watering down the universities academic core is not an option.

    I appreciate the union policies, and was in no means undermining them; simply acting in my representational role as a school liaison representative.

    If any students have any suggestions or queries, give me an email; I’m sure any of the SU team would be willing to take any students’ points of view with this being such a major issue.