Unprecedented new scheme to help more Tower Hamlets youngsters into university

Hundreds of young people in Tower Hamlets will be given grants to help them with the cost of university, as part of a bold new scheme being launched by Tower Hamlets Council.

Under the Mayor’s Higher Education Award, 400 students will receive payments totalling £1,500 each.

Tower Hamlets is the first council in the country to launch a higher education grant programme of this scale.

The Mayor of Tower Hamlets Lutfur Rahman said: “Tuition fees have meant the cost of university is simply too daunting for many students in Tower Hamlets.

“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.”

The awards scheme is being launched to help:

  • make higher education a more realistic prospect for young people from poorer families in the borough
  • reduce the number of local students who drop out of university before completing their courses
  • encourage more school and college leavers from Tower Hamlets to attend university

At present, it is believed only one other council distributes education grants, benefitting seven students each year – so Tower Hamlets’ 400 grants is an unprecedented move by a local authority.

Cabinet member for children, schools and families Councillor Oliur Rahman said: “We are the first authority in the country to be backing our teenagers in such an innovative way. We know that our teenagers are our future.

“Achieving a better education is better for the student, better for the student’s family and better for the borough.

“This is why we are committing a total of £1.26 million to this project – it is an investment in the future.”

The Mayor’s Higher Education Award is being launched as a result of the success of the Mayor’s Education Award – a scheme, now in its third year, in which school leavers are given grants to help them stay in education.

To be eligible for funding through the Mayor’s Higher Education Award, students will need to meet certain criteria and will have to apply through the council’s benefits department.

The awards will be officially launched on July 1 and will help those students who start higher education courses in September 2013.

Full details, including the opening date for applications, will be announced shortly.

May 30, 2013