Cuts to Access to Learning Fund (Student Opportunity Fund)

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2015 Higher Education Service Group Conference
30 October 2014

Conference notes with alarm the Government’s revelation in January 2014 that it was seeking to cut £200m from the Student Opportunity Fund. Run by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). The Student Opportunity Fund is open to undergraduates and taught postgraduates and provides non-repayable grants of between £100 and £1,000 for disadvantaged students.

The proposed cut is in addition to minister’s further announcement that public funding for universities is to be reduced by a further £125m this year.

Conference condemns this practice of systematic attacks, which not only has a negative impact for universities that attract high numbers of students from disadvantaged background but the economic future of this country.

The truth is that with all these cuts universities will have to review spending in the organisation as a whole, which could lead to redundancies and decreased investment in research. As a direct result of this, the UK will be unable to compete in the highly competitive economy.

Conference believes that only by standing together can we fight these cuts and defend the vital service we provide.

Conference calls on the HESGE to:

1)Ensure cuts in the Student Opportunity Fund are a key part of the Service Groups campaigning against Governments cuts in Higher Education.

2)To work with other unions and the NUS to highlight the importance of the Student Opportunity Fund.