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Two new grants for some First-Generation Scholars

The University of Sussex and the Students’ Union have agreed two new grants for students eligible for the First-Generation Scholarship scheme.

Annual travel grants for returning students

The additional financial package, which Students’ Union Welfare Officer, Rianna, pledged in her first manifesto in 2014, aims to cover the cost of travel to and from campus for students moving into Brighton and Hove and its surrounding areas.

In its pilot year, the grant will be available to second and third year First-Generation Scholars whose household income is below £25,000 per year as assessed for the forthcoming academic year, to assist them in attending their teaching hours, which the University hopes will improvement students’ engagement and performance in their studies.

Students will automatically receive £400 at the beginning of the year which they can choose to spend on annual bus or train travel, or alternatively, to cover the cost of buying a bike and the necessary safety equipment. This will be implemented for students returning this September for the academic year 2015/16.

Rianna is thrilled that the additional grants have been agreed after working on them throughout her first term in office. She said

Rianna Gargiulo

The cost of living in Brighton is becoming increasingly unmanageable for students, and lobbying for more affordable transport can only go some of the way in mitigating against this. This funding will support some of our students who are most likely to struggle with the cost of getting to campus to attend their lectures and seminars.

We believe that education is a right, not a privilege, and so really value the University’s First-Generation Scholarship scheme and its impact on creating access to education for one of the University’s most financially disadvantaged groups. I hope that this additional support will encourage even more promising students from working class backgrounds to consider studying here at Sussex.

Clare Mackie, the University’s Deputy Vice Chancellor and Pro-Vice Chancellor for Teaching and Learning, said

I am delighted to add my support to the great ideas the Students’ Union bring to our partnership which delivers for students at Sussex. Our first cohort of First Generation Scholars achieved 85% 1st or 2:1s in their degree classifications. This is a fantastic achievement which we celebrated this month.

Additional support for students on study abroad years

In addition, the University have agreed additional funding for First-Generation Scholars who take up an integrated or voluntary study year abroad between their second and third year. This will be implemented for students studying abroad from the 2016/17 academic year.

Students studying abroad from the 2016/17 academic year who have an annual household income under £42,660 as assessed the forthcoming academic year will automatically receive a £3,000 grant to help support the costs of studying and living abroad.  Their Sussex tuition fees will also be reduced to 15% to reduce the burden of an extra year studying. These plans co-ordinate with the University’s aim to increase the number of students taking up a year abroad which aims to improve students’ employability.

Bethan Hunt

Bethan, Undergraduate Education Officer, is extremely happy with these developments, as it links with other improvements to the current study abroad programme. She said

I’m delighted that more students will have the opportunity to study abroad and enjoy the benefits of living in a different country and experiencing a different education system.
 
This article was updated on 28th July to clarify eligiblity for the study abroad grant and on 29th July to correct an error with the year of income assessment.
 

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