Hertford College has announced changes to its bursary scheme, involving a cut to those receiving the Crankstart Scholarship. A range of changes have been announced, including increases in eligibility, the form of compensation, and distinguishing between Crankstart scholars and non-scholars.
With the aim to “provide improved levels of support, in a more targeted way, to a wider range of students”, the upper limit of household income required to qualify for an automatic award will be raised from £53k to £63k, the first time it has been raised in many years.
Furthermore, the standard award will be raised from £1,000 per annum to £1,500. However, this compensation will be applied in the form of discounted rent and free meals at the College Hall, as opposed to the current, direct lump discount on battels.
This has caused some contention among the student population, with a preference for direct compensation. The College, however, have affirmed this as part of their intention to “encourage greater use of hall and communal dining in College.” Although some students have told Cherwell that they fear they will not have enough evidence to support exemption requests, and that such a process might be invasive. In addition to this restriction, students have brought up concerns that those wishing to live privately will struggle with such changes.
The biggest point of contention is the halving of the award granted to Crankstart scholarships, with scholars being awarded £750 rather than the current £1,000. This reduction will only affect students who will matriculate from 2023 onwards.
Hertford College told Cherwell that: “No student will receive less support than they do now”, adding that the College “takes into account the University’s extension of the Crankstart scheme.”
JCR Treasurer, Amrit Ark, reassured students that throughout the rent negotiation process, efforts have been made to keep the bursary scehme inclusive and to “expand its value”, without making any current students worse off.
One student at Hertford told Cherwell: “I support the spirit of this, as I believe there is a middle squeeze where those on the very lowest incomes get lots of support, and those with high ones get support from families, [but a lack of support for those in the middle]. I think this will help with smoothing.”