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Evaluating the role of bursaries in widening participation in higher education: a review of the literature and evidence

Kaye, N; (2020) Evaluating the role of bursaries in widening participation in higher education: a review of the literature and evidence. Educational Review 10.1080/00131911.2020.1787954. (In press).

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Abstract

The publication of the long-awaited Augar Report into post-18 education and funding provides a timely opportunity to examine the literature and evidence on the role of bursaries in widening participation (WP) in higher education. WP policies have sought to address discrepancies in the take-up of HE between different social groups, and the differential experiences (and outcomes) of students from different backgrounds, once they are at university. The effectiveness of bursaries to address this depends not only on their ability to compensate for financial disadvantage but also on the impact their provision can have on young people’s attitudes and students’ integration at university. This systematic review takes into account not only recent academic research undertaken in the area but also acknowledges the vast amount of research that governmental and non-governmental organisations undertake in relation to WP. The findings highlight the persistence of socioeconomic disparities in HE participation and, even amongst lower-income students who do attend, emphasise the continuing challenges they face to “fit in” to university life. Before provision of financial support can be effective, a consistent method to identify the most vulnerable groups of students is necessary. Whilst bursaries can overcome the financial barriers to participation, other non-financial challenges remain and the effectiveness of bursaries alone to promote greater diversity in HE is not yet proven. The strength-in-diversity the WP agenda aims to support will only be realised with a fairer distribution of quality and prestige across the sector and a more thorough “de-classing” of the institution of the university.

Type: Article
Title: Evaluating the role of bursaries in widening participation in higher education: a review of the literature and evidence
DOI: 10.1080/00131911.2020.1787954
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1080/00131911.2020.1787954
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.
Keywords: Bursaries, widening participation, higher education, student financial aid, access to education, decision making
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Social Research Institute
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10109923
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