Havant MP demands wider access for poorer students as top universities

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MP DAVID Willetts has welcomed calls demanding the most exclusive universities double the amount they spend on recruiting disadvantaged students – in return for charging maximum tuition fees.

The Universities Minister and Havant MP backed the Office for Fair Access’s requirement that universities wishing to charge £9,000 from 2012 will have to spend around £900 on widening access for every tuition fee they receive.

Mr Willetts, who has come under fire for the tuition fees scheme, said: ‘Universities are being asked to work much harder to recruit students from disadvantaged backgrounds in the future.’

The guidance suggests universities which have a low proportion of students from poorer backgrounds, or with disabilities, should spend around 30 per cent of their fee income above £6,000 on widening access with outreach activities.