Oxford extends support to all UK students

Students will pay a minimum of £3,500 tuition fees in their first year, and £6,000 a year after that. Fee payments increase for those with household income above £16,000, with those earning over £25,000 paying the full £9,000 tuition fee.

Bursaries also range between £500 to £4,300 a year depending on household income and with extra funding in the first year of a degree. This adds up to a maximum of £22,400 financial support from Oxford during a three-year undergraduate degree.

However, maintenance funding for Scottish and Northern Irish students is still less than for the rest of the UK as it is distributed by local government. Whereas all UK students are eligible for tuition fee waivers and loans, maintenance grants and maintenance loans depend on the local student loan authority.

Most English students can claim a £5,500 maintenance loan annually, with an additional maintenance grant of up to £3,250 available, which is based on household income. Scottish and Irish maintenance grants and loans are income-based and are less generous than English support.

Oxford accepted 93 undergraduate students from Scotland and Northern Ireland in 2011, when 451 students applied.

An Oxford University spokeswoman, responding to allegations that Scottish students were getting unfairly generous financial support, said “Oxford will offer the most generous financial support in the country for low-income students from the UK from October 2012.’

‘This financial support is provided from Oxford’s own resources – not government money. Oxford’s financial support is automatic and based on income – the number of bursaries available is unlimited.’

‘So a Scottish student getting the package will categorically not take funding away from an English student. The same financial support package is available to all UK students (suggestions that we are running a separate inducement exclusively to Scottish students are completely incorrect).’

‘Oxford is committed to access and our message to all UK students is, ‘If you have the ability to study at Oxford, we’ll ensure money is no barrier.’ ”

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Robert Kelly, a Scottish student from Lincoln, commented, “I think it’s a good thing as the numbers of Scottish students at Oxford are already very low, and Scottish students are facing the prospect of £27,000 of debt when you can get as good an education for free at some Scottish universities like St Andrews.

‘By offering this, Oxford should be able to encourage more students from poorer backgrounds to come as well.’

‘It is also a sign that they want more Scottish students as they clearly acknowledge that they are more intelligent.”