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Fees, bursaries, scholarships: the future revealed

Press release issued: 17 March 2005

The tuition fee for all undergraduates from the UK and the European Union who start at Bristol University in autumn 2006 will be £3,000 for the academic year.

The tuition fee for all undergraduates from the UK and the European Union who start at Bristol University in autumn 2006 will be £3,000 for the academic year.  The sum will rise by inflation in the subsequent years of their courses.

No student will have to pay the money before or during their time at the University.  So-called ‘up-front’ tuition fees, currently £1,150 a year, are being abolished. 

Students will be eligible for Government loans to cover the fees.  The loans will only have to be repaid once the students have graduated and are earning more than £15,000 a year. 

UK students will also be able to get loans to cover their living costs.  These too will be repayable only once they are earning.  Students from low-income families should qualify for non-repayable Government grants of up to £2,700 a year to help with their living expenses.

To help ensure that nobody who wants to study at Bristol is put off by the cost of doing so, the University is introducing a new bursary scheme.  The University will provide:

  • bursaries valued at £1,100 a year for all UK students in receipt of full State support.  Students receiving partial State support will qualify for bursaries valued at £700 a year; 
  • ‘top-up’ bursaries valued at £1,000 a year for bursary holders from the Bristol area.

The University will also offer about 100 scholarships valued at £2,500 a year (for students also in receipt of a bursary) or £500 a year (for non-bursary holders).  These will help attract applications to study subjects for which there is a relative shortage of strong candidates.  To be considered for a scholarship, applicants will have to show outstanding academic potential, but they need not be from low-income homes. 

A small number of students could receive bursary and scholarship support valued at a total of £13,800 over the course of a three-year programme of study.  This would comprise:

  • an annual bursary of £1,100;
  • a local bursary holder’s annual top-up of £1,000;
  • an annual scholarship of £2,500.

The University’s plans for encouraging and supporting students from low-income families have won support from the Office for Fair Access (OFFA).  On the strength of these plans, OFFA has authorised the University to levy higher tuition fees.  Most other universities will also be charging £3,000 a year for their courses.

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Eric Thomas, said: “Our students expect and deserve a first-rate academic experience.  The extra income we receive through higher tuition fees will help us maintain or improve the quality of our provision.  The money will make a modest but important difference to the University’s financial position and help it retain its place among the UK leaders in higher education.

“We aim to strengthen the outreach activity we have been engaged in for many years – for example, working with schools to help raise pupils’ aspirations.  And our much-improved bursary scheme will assist people who have the academic potential to thrive at the University but who come from poorer backgrounds.

“Bristol will continue to offer an outstanding education that sets people up for life – all for much less than cost price and with generous support for those who need it.”

More details of the fees, bursaries and scholarship arrangements are available

The higher tuition fees will raise additional fee income of £6 million in the first year, rising to £18 million by 2010/11.  £18 million represents a little over 7% of the University’s current annual income.

Of the extra income, about 28% will be spent on bursaries and other forms of support and encouragement for students from less advantaged backgrounds.  All the rest will be spent on measures designed to maintain or improve the educational experience for all our students.


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