Concern for poorer students at University of Bristol

Wills building at the University of Bristol
Image caption Students have traditionally supplemented the cost of study with a part time or holiday job

Student leaders at Bristol University say those from poorer backgrounds are being expected to get part-time jobs to make ends meet.

It follows a planned shake-up of the university's hardship financial support package.

Up-front bursaries will be replaced with a system of reduced fees, lowering overall debt at the end of study.

A Students' Union spokesman said it is unrealistic to expect people studying to be working at the same time.

'Long hours'

The current bursary scheme - which is worth up to £1,260 a year - can be used by students to help with their living expenses and course costs.

Those eligible receive the cash after 1 December.

Gus Baker, president of the Bristol union, said while the fee-waiver offered "mild tax relief" later on the bursary was money up front.

"What we are pushing for... is for low income students to have the choice between a fee waiver or a bursary.

"That's something we are working with the university to suggest," he said.

A university spokesman said rather than setting fees at £9,000 per year it was introducing a sliding scale depending on individual circumstances.

"The university takes the view that high fees represented a psychological barrier to those from low income families.

"It is something that is constantly under review so this isn't something that can't change.

"[But] students have always supplemented the cost of study with part-time or holiday jobs," he added.

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