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BASW England group statement on student bursaries

BASW England Student & NQSW set out recommendations

This statement is based on feedback from members of the Student & NQSW group. 

Outlined  are the views from members of the group in relation to student bursaries.  The comments represent a collation of views in relation to the social work student bursary with a summary of key themes.

Summary of key issues

  • The process of bursary distribution can be divisive amongst students (academic ranking) and can be indirectly discriminatory
  • Some students rely on the bursary as their only source of income and any decision delay with awarding a bursary or with a bursary payment for whatever reason can have a significant impact and negative repercussions for the student  
  • There is a lack of clarity about eligibility and differences in distribution of bursaries.  Also, there is significant variation across the Higher Education Institute sector and individual education provider settings
  • There is a lack of consistency and national variation for students receiving various allowances - dependent upon placements
  • Students who receive state benefits i.e. Universal Credit are impacted greatly and any income from allowances and grants can be deducted from their benefit award on a ratio of up to £1 to £1

Recommendation

BASW England Student & NQSW Group recommends:

  • That a means-tested bursary is available for all social work students to apply for via their education provider and funded via central government
  • The bursary application process should be more accessible e.g. audio, digital and paper-based