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NEWS: UK Student Funding Knowledge ‘Chasm’ Revealed
A new survey has revealed that more than 50% of 16 to 24 year olds struggle to recall any types of higher education funding. And even when prompted with the name, only 72% had heard of a student loan.
With a panel of more than 2000 16-24 year olds, the Ci Research streetGov survey, commissioned by student funding website Student Cashpoint (www.studentcashpoint.co.uk), invited young people to spontaneously volunteer the names of any further education grants or loans that they had heard of.
Jeremy Phillips for Student Cashpoint believes the fact that 56% of those asked were unable to recall any types of financial assistance at all should be a cause for concern.
“There is currently more than £160 million in student funding which 16-24 year olds can claim depending on personal circumstances. Yet more than half don’t realise!
“I’d like to say there’s a knowledge gap – but it’s more than that. It’s a chasm! Young people simply aren’t aware of the support that’s available to them. If I was managing a fund with this low level of recall amongst the target group – I’d be very worried indeed.”
In the second stage of the survey, 16-24 year olds were prompted with the names of some of the key funds and grants available - and invited to identify the ones they had heard of and those they believed they were eligible for. Even with the names presented in front of them, recall varied from 86% for university scholarships to as low as 28% for several key trusts.
Only 72% said they had heard of the student loan.
This answers also revealed a significant gap in perceived awareness and eligibility. Whilst 86% of respondents knew about University scholarships, only 10% believed they were eligible. 64% had heard of Special Support Grants yet only 3% believed they were eligible. And 63% recalled maintenance grants but only 43% thought they could apply for them.
“We believe there’s a massive challenge for everyone in education to promote the funds available. The money is there to assist the students who need it most. As it stands there is a very real risk that cash will go begging.”
In response, Student Cashpoint is now urging UK students to discover which of the £160 million-worth of funds and grants currently listed on their newly-launched website they could be eligible for.
The new Student Cashpoint website targets the problem of student debt. It represents the first time that more than 3,000 government grants, industrial sponsorships, educational trusts and university bursaries - with a total value of more than £160 million - have all been featured on just one website.
J40020 Student Funding Knowledge Chasm
Notes for Editors:
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• Student Cash Point is a new website which aims to help students make informed choices about the costs of studying by providing comprehensive information on all sources of student funding. The information on www.studentcashpoint.co.uk is updated by dedicated research team who pro-actively investigate the latest sources of cash for education. This is in contrast to other student funding websites which rely on the funding bodies themselves to volunteer information. In February, j4b revealed fears that lack of information would leave more student funds than ever before unclaimed in 2008. The revelations coincided with the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills, John Denham’s public request that schools, colleges and universities to ensure that information is readily available online to enable students to progress through further and into higher education. The site covers all UK universities and colleges and features industrial sponsorships from companies such as JCB, Ernst and Young and Astra Zeneca. Uniquely, with Student Cashpoint, students will be able to compare the amount of funding available at different Universities – helping them make informed choices about where to study and minimise the burden of student debt. Student Cashpoint is operated by public sector funding experts j4b.
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