Tyne & Wear

Durham University unveils £11m student support fund

Durham University has announced an £11m fund to help students meet upfront costs as it prepares to charge fees of up to £9,000 from 2012.

The university said earlier this year that it would increase its fees.

The support package will see students whose household family income is below £25,000 automatically receiving support worth £3,000 a year.

Students whose family household income is between £25,000 and £42,600 will receive a package of £1,000 a year.

The fund, which has been agreed by the Office for Fair Access, involves students getting help towards college living expenses or cash if they live in private accommodation.

Immediate costs

It also includes cash to provide bursaries and scholarships and to expand student outreach programmes.

Dr Michael Gilmore, the university's academic registrar, said: "While students will continue to pay nothing upfront in terms of tuition fees, they will have to pay for accommodation and living costs.

"Financial support to meet more immediate costs is much more attractive.

"Durham is a collegiate university and participating in a college community is an integral part of the student experience.

"Therefore, much of the financial support will be targeted at helping students enjoy the full benefit of this experience."

The government's decision to allow universities to raise tuition fees sparked major street protests last year, with critics arguing that students from disadvantaged backgrounds would be put off.

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