In 2013 we awarded a total of £70,000 to three educational institutions. Read on to find out more about the support given to local students.
Newman University draws its students from some of the most educationally deprived areas of the West Midlands, however a three-year grant from the Foundation means that ten undergraduate students who would otherwise have been unable to fund degree-level study can now do so, with the help of a bursary. The funding is a huge support in terms of living and course material costs for these students who are often trying to juggle studying for a degree with family and work commitments.
Amanda Elliott, development officer at Newman University, said: "At Newman, we have a strong track record of widening participation rates among students with academic ability from non-traditional backgrounds.
"Providing financial support is part of this approach and we're delighted that the National Express Foundation grants will help ten of our students achieve their dreams."
South Essex College of Further and Higher Education
In 2012 South Essex College secured a three year grant of £10,000 per year and in 2013 they secured an additional £20,000 over two years. The original grant is focussed on supporting the younger student demographic; whereas this latest grant is being used to support students aged 19+. The college felt that there is an under-representation of adults in Higher Education, which is why they want to use this grant to help this particular group. The three college campuses are all serviced by the c2c rail line which is the main source of transportation for the students.
The college is surrounded by areas that are amongst the 10% most deprived areas in the country. Many of its students had never travelled outside of the Walsall area and restrictions on funding limited the amount of financial help that the college is able to offer students for educational trips. With help from the two year £20,000 Foundation grant the college has established the 'Go Further with National Express Award' which is providing 470 students with the opportunity to access support for educational trips, travel to higher education open days and interviews, and travel to engage in community volunteering opportunities.
Gail Houghton, Student Finance and Support Coordinator at Walsall College, said: "It has been an amazing fund and has enabled students to travel extensively. This has included Southerndown Beach in Wales which is shown in the picture above from one of our Art and Design students, Edinburgh and to Luton Airport for a trip to Berlin. These trips would not have happened without the support from National Express."