Press release

million+ warns of damaging cuts to Student Opportunity funding

14 Jan 2014

The university think tank million+ has warned that cuts to the Student Opportunity Allocation would be a real defeat for the Government’s social mobility agenda.

It is understood that the Treasury and the Cabinet Office are pressing for the reductions as part of cost savings being imposed on the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

The reduction could be up to 60%, which would ammount to nearly £200m, and is thought to be under consideration ahead of the annual letter from the Secretary of State, Vince Cable, and the Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts, to the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). This letter sets out the grant that the council will receive directly from the Government for the 2014-2015 academic year.

Pam Tatlow, Chief Executive of the university think-tank million+ said:

“This cut would fly in the face of the face of the Government’s social mobility agenda and would come hard on the heels of the Treasury removing the cap on student numbers in 2015. The Student Opportunity Allocation is similar to the pupil premium and is worth over £330m a year."

"To lose this funding would be a real disaster, especially following the recently announced withdrawal of £100m from the National Scholarship Programme a year early. It appears that the universities that are doing most of the heavy lifting in social mobility are the ones paying the price for the expansion of student numbers.”


Notes to Editors

1. For further information or to arrange interviews with Pam Tatlow, contact Victoria Robinson, Press and Communications Officer, million+ on 07527 336 795.
2. million+ is a leading university think-tank. More information can be found at:
3. The Student Opportunity Allocation provides additional resource to universities that recruit students from disadvantaged backgrounds. It is distributed on a formulaic basis by HEFCE to universities and colleges based on the profile of the students that they have recruited, taking into account social background and disability.
4. Click here to read the full million+ and NEON report: ‘Student Opportunity Funding: Why it counts’.