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New £1.26m scheme launched in Tower Hamlets to help hundreds of young people into university

Tower Hamlets Council has launched a new scheme to help young people with the cost of attending university. Under the Mayor’s Higher Education Award, 400 students will receive grants totalling £1,500 each.

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QM's Joy Hinson speaks at the launch of the Mayor’s Higher Education Award
QM's Joy Hinson speaks at the launch of the Mayor’s Higher Education Award

The awards scheme aims to help make higher education a realistic prospect for young people from poorer families in the borough, and to reduce the number of local students who drop out of university before completing their course.

Representatives from Queen Mary were invited to address guests at the council’s launch event on 1 July, alongside Tower Hamlets students who have been accepted on to courses at Queen Mary.

Professor Joy Hinson, Dean for Postgraduate and Postdoctoral Studies at Queen Mary explained the university's links with the borough: “It is wonderful that Tower Hamlets council is recognising the importance of encouraging students to achieve their full potential by going on to higher education. At Queen Mary we are proud of our close relationship with Tower Hamlets schools and of our long-established link with the local community. About 18 per cent of our applicants come from east London boroughs and this year we recruited 291 undergraduate students from Tower Hamlets alone.

“QM has a strong record of providing opportunities for local young people and for those from disadvantaged backgrounds. We recognise the costs involved and the difficulties that students face if they have to work lots of hours in part time jobs during term time. We want students to be able to excel at their studies and devote as much time as possible to achieving high grades.”  

Queen Mary provides its own extensive range of student grants and scholarships, which includes the Queen Mary Bursary of £1,500 per year if a student’s household income is £25,000 or less, or £1,200 per year if that income is between £25,000 and £42,600. Some 75 per cent of Tower Hamlets students applying to study at Queen Mary receive a bursary from the university.

Queen Mary students are also welcome to apply for School-specific scholarships and grants under the National Scholarship Programme. Eligible students from Tower Hamlets, the City of London or Hackney can apply for the Aldgate and Allhallows Foundation Scholarship or the Queen Mary and Westfield Alumni Student Bursary.

Tower Hamlets Council is the first council in the country to launch a large-scale higher education grant programme. Only one other council currently distributes education grants, benefitting fewer than a dozen students each year – so Tower Hamlets’ 400 grants is an unprecedented move by a local authority.

The Mayor of Tower Hamlets Lutfur Rahman said: “This innovative new scheme is aimed at helping more of our young people realise their full potential. For local teenagers who thought university was a pipe dream, I hope this will change their minds.”

Applications for Tower Hamlets awards officially opened on 1 July to help students who start higher education courses in the 2013/14 academic year. Visit the Tower Hamlets Council website for further information:

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