The University of Sussex’s plan to increase spending on talented students from families with relatively low incomes approved by the Office for Fair Access (OFFA)

BRIGHTON, 24-7-2014 — /EuropaWire/ — The University of Sussex has been given approval for its plans to offer more financial help for talented students from families with relatively low incomes.

The government’s access regulator, the Office for Fair Access (OFFA), has today (Thursday 24 July) approved the University’s plans to increase spending on its First-Generation Scholars (FGS) scheme from £7.5 million to £8.2 million.

Sussex’s FGS offers assistance, not all of it financial, to UK-based undergraduates who come to the University from households with relatively low incomes (under £42,611 for this academic year) and neither of whose parents is a university graduate.

First-year students who qualify for the scheme get either a £2,000 fee waiver or a £2,000 University rent waiver as well as a £1,000 bursary.

In subsequent years those who qualify continue to receive the £1,000 bursary. Students are also offered assistance at getting the most out of university life and in acquiring skills that will help with future employability.

Analysis of OFFA’s projections of future spending show that Sussex is in the top three of universities in the south-east of England in terms of spending on widening access: more than a third of the extra money generated by increasing fees to £9,000 a year will be invested in assisting students from lower-income backgrounds to come to Sussex.

Professor Michael Farthing, Vice-Chancellor of the University, said: “We are very proud at Sussex of our record in widening access to talented students from diverse backgrounds. That was the ethos of our university at its foundation 50 years ago and it remains so today.

“The First-Generation Scholars scheme is our flagship offering in our work to make Sussex an elite, but not elitist, university.

“This year we were able to offer help to just over 2,000 students and in future years that number will increase as part of our plans to both expand and strength the University and to maintain its record as a first-class choice for students with high academic potential.

“OFFA’s projections show that more than one-third of the money that the recent fee rises generated will go back into widening access – we are putting our money where our mouth is.”

Notes for editors

  • OFFA, in their so-called “steady state” projection, estimate that in 2018-19, 34.2% – £8.2 million – of the additional income coming to Sussex from the increased fees will be spent on widening access. This puts Sussex third among the 15 universities in the south-east of England.
  • University of Sussex Press Office: Tel: 01273 678888. Email:

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