OFFA report shows the need to banish confusing student bursaries

The research released by OFFA today presents important findings at a time when universities and government alike are seeking to use limited public resources to the greatest effect.

Welcoming the report and in the context of the announcement of the Browne Review, Libby Aston, Director of University Alliance, said:

“These findings sit firmly alongside previous research that students find the current system of grants, bursaries and loans confusing. It is vital that we take the opportunity of a wider review of higher education funding to banish the confusion tied up with the current system and language of fees and debt.

“Higher education needs to be free at point of access and the need to make this more widely understood is clear. What students need is a single, simplified financial support system of grants and maintenance loans based on financial need – a crucial principle of our Graduate Contribution Scheme proposals.”

Notes to editors

  1. A Department for Business, Innovation and Skills report detailing misconceptions around student support can be found at –
  2. A previous report for OFFA warning that three quarters of students and two thirds of parents do not fully understand the bursaries system can be found at –
  3. University Alliance’s first submission to Lord Browne’s Review looked at the
    evidence of the impact of fees. Page 38 of this report looks at market failure and the misinformation regarding the current system, this can be downloaded here.
  4. University Alliance’s ‘Proposal for a Graduate Contribution Scheme for England’ is available to download here.

University Alliance represents 22 major, dynamic, business-like universities at the heart
of the sector that deliver world-leading research with impact and are actively businessfocussed.

Through evidence-based policy and research, the Alliance aims to improve policymaking in higher education to the benefit of the UK economy and society.

Alliance universities educate 27% of all UK students and achieve some of the highest graduate-level employment rates. These universities offer a research informed,academic learning environment and a culture of entrepreneurialism, equipping graduates for the 21st century.

Alliance universities:

Aberystwyth University, Bournemouth University, University of Bradford, De Montfort University, University of Glamorgan, Glasgow Caledonian University, University of Hertfordshire, University of Huddersfield, University of Lincoln, Liverpool John Moores University, Manchester Metropolitan University, Northumbria University, Nottingham Trent University, Open University, Oxford Brookes University, University of Plymouth, University of Portsmouth, University of Salford, Sheffield Hallam University, University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, University of Wales, Newport, University of the West of England.

For further information, please contact: Tim Field, University Alliance on 0203 178 7491
or email

Further reading