UK: Anger at axing of student support scheme

Critics have condemned the closure of a higher education outreach programme amid evidence that poorer students are likely to be put off by the trebling of tuition fees next year, writes Daniel Boffey for the Guardian.

Professor Les Ebdon, Vice-chancellor of the University of Bedfordshire, said the coalition government's closure in July of Aimhigher, a body that spent £78 million (US$128 million) last year on visiting schools in the poorest areas to promote higher education, was "poor timing". Universities now have complete responsibility for outreach to families in which no member has previously continued their education beyond school. But the additional money universities need to fund such work will not be available until 2012-2013, when students start paying up to £9,000 in fees.

It is the latest row over higher education at a time when record numbers of successful A-level candidates applied for university places in a scramble to avoid higher tuition fees and in a week that the website of the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service crashed amid a surge of interest for places.
Full report on The Guardian site