Appendix B: Building the evidence base: consultation
The Board commissioned a public consultation. This ran for 62 days, from 30 June to 31 August 2017.
We received nearly 100 responses from a diverse range of individuals and organisations, including student associations, universities and colleges and special interest groups. To ensure independence of the analysis, the results were analysed by Why Research Ltd.
|Inclusion groups and organisations||11|
Greater alignment of financial support for students
- Most respondents felt there should be parity in funding levels for all students.
- One theme was the need for bursary funding to be means-tested. Respondents wanted to see this for both further and higher education.
- Many respondents felt that means-testing household or personal income was an effective way to determine need.
- In respect of benefits, many respondents stressed that students should not be worse off because they are in education.
A simplification and clarification of the systems
- The key features that may deter or make it more difficult for
students to access or stay in college or university are:
- bureaucracy (for example, the length and complexity of the application process);
- finance (such as worry over the burden of debt); and
- concern over the 100% attendance rule for further education students – especially for students with children.
- Ideas put forward for how the administration of student
support funding could be improved and made fairer for all
students at college or university were:
- the ability for students to be able to spread their funding payments over 12 months or to have access to a discretionary fund over the summer period; and
- the need for consistency and for clear, up to date information.
- In relation to improving the way in which financial support
is delivered to students at college or university, respondents
commented on the need:
- to ensure no delays to payments;
- for a living wage; and
- for any system to be flexible enough to respond to individual circumstances.
Better communication of the funding available
- Suggestions for the type of information on funding that would
be helpful to students included:
- an online calculator;
- clear and concise information;
- tailored, rather than generic, advice; and
- the need for information to be made available through schools.
Further consideration of the levels of funding required
- Most respondents said that a ‘minimum income’ guarantee should be introduced across all students.