Press release

million+ responds to speech by Universities Minister at UUK Annual Conference

09 Sep 2015

In his speech Jo Johnson MP, the Universities and Science Minister outlined new ambitions for access and student success. In March David Cameron committed a Conservative government to doubling the rate of participation in higher education from those from more disadvantaged backgrounds by 2020.

Responding to the speech at Universities UK's annual conference in Guildford, Professor Dave Phoenix, Chair of million+ and Vice-Chancellor of London South Bank University, called for the Treasury and BIS to increase the Student Opportunity Allocation in the 2015 Spending Review.

Professor Phoenix said:

“The government has set universities new challenges to widen and deepen participation in higher education. Universities will want to step up to these social mobility challenges but the Student Opportunity Allocation must be increased if the government's ambitions are to be delivered.

Some of the savings achieved from the abolition of maintenance grants should be reinvested in an increased Student Opportunity Allocation from 2016 to support access and to help universities invest in ensuring that once students are recruited, there is then equity in attainment levels across all groups.”


Notes to Editors

1. For further information or to arrange an interview, contact million+ on 0207 717 1659 or
2. million+ is a leading university think-tank. More information can be found at
3. Student Opportunity funding has been allocated to universities in England to recognise the additional resources required to support students with disabilities and from less educationally advantaged backgrounds
4. The Summer Budget announced that maintenance grants would be converted into loans from 2017, leading to a £2.5bn saving by 2020/21