New cash support for less well-off students

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Students from disadvantaged backgrounds are to be given a share of a £5 million fund to support postgraduate courses at Sheffield University.

Sheffield is one of six universities set to benefit from the scheme backed by the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

The consortium, led by Sheffield, is the largest in the country and is designed to attract more disadvantaged students into postgraduate education.

Research shows such qualifications increase social mobility and play a crucial role in creating a skilled workforce.

The grant will also target applications from mature students and carers, with pilot schemes kicking off from 2014.

Options will include scholarships and career development loans, as well as courses focusing on higher level skills and their post-study professions.

The cash will also help fund information, advice and guidance to promote and facilitate entry to postgraduate study.

Professor Sir Keith Burnett, Sheffield University vice-chancellor, said: “It has been our concern for some time that one of the most difficult challenges for higher education lies in access to postgraduate study – and the access to professions which goes with that.

“It is crucial for our society that teachers, lawyers, architects and doctors come from all walks of life and that they are able to reflect and understand the values and experiences of the communities they serve.”