Haringey Council approves £3,000 university bursaries for disadvantaged students

The scheme is designed to tackle educational inequality and will cost the council �120,000 per year.

The scheme is designed to tackle educational inequality and will cost the council �120,000 per year. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Polly Hancock

Students from disadvantaged backgrounds will be eligible for £3,000-a-year bursaries from Haringey Council to study at university.

The Springboard Scholarship scheme – which will help up to ten of the borough’s students each year – aims to close the gap in university attendance between those from well off backgrounds and their disadvantaged peers.

It will also provide funding towards mentoring from year 13 through to graduation, a university application fee and visits to two university open days.

According to a council report, Haringey is the fourth most deprived borough in London, with 34 per cent of residents – and 40 per cent of children – living below the poverty line.

Although 56 per cent of young people in the borough go into higher education – up from 32 per cent in 2005 – those from lower-income households are significantly less likely to do so.

In parts of the east of the borough, which is home to more disadvantaged families, the figure is only 33 per cent.

The university drop-out rate is also higher among students from less well-off backgrounds, the report adds.

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Eligibility criteria for the scholarship scheme have yet to be finalised but currently include youngsters from families with a total household income of below £30,000.

The initiative, which is expected to cost the council £120,000 a year, was approved by cabinet members on Tuesday (July 14).

It will provide support for applications in 2020-21 before paying the first bursaries in 2021-22.

Council leader Cllr Joseph Ejiofor (Labour, Bruce Grove) said: “We believe, as a council, that nobody should be denied the best education they can have just because they can’t afford it.

“Many of us on this council, when we went to university, we had the opportunity of some sort of grant.

“As a council, we believe we should be doing whatever we can to help young people from low-income families access that same opportunity of a further education.”

The scheme was unanimously agreed by cabinet members.