An open letter to David Willetts

Subject: An open letter to David Willetts
From: James Coe
Date: 19 Mar 2015

Dear Mr. Willetts,

I am writing to you regarding the recent announcement by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills that the government will be reducing its contribution to the National Scholarship Programme (NSP) by £100m.

I am disappointed that there has been a cut in the overall Government spending supporting students from poorer backgrounds. At the University of Liverpool NSP funding cuts now mean the University can allocate only 198 National Scholarship Programme funded places whereas previously it was able to allocate 396. Furthermore it is of great disappointment that those who do receive funding will only be entitled to a minimum of £2,000 opposed to the £3,000 previously.

As a Student Representative Officer at Liverpool Guild of Students there is concern that this decision will negatively impact the good outreach work the University had done so far. The University of Liverpool has succeeded in being a leading Russell Group institution at outreach work, (second only to Queen Mary,) and at Liverpool Guild of Students we are worried about the negative effects that these cuts could have on the work done thus far.

In an environment of 9k fees and an ever dwindling availability of financial support for those in further education institutions this decision represents another barrier for students from widening participation backgrounds. Whilst it is beneficial to students that the cash limit has been removed on the NSP the cut to the overall funding provision can only have a negative impact on student’s ability to access University.

At LGoS we are disappointed by this decision and worry that the cuts to NSP will turn bursary allocation into a marketing tool rather than a means of social inclusion. With this in mind we hope that funding to the Student Opportunity Allocation will continue beyond the £25m proposed for next year.

Yours sincerely
James Coe
Deputy President Liverpool Guild of Students