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Million+ urges Nick Clegg to fight for student opportunity funding

There is “no case” to make cuts to the £332 million programme which helps disadvantaged students attend university, according to the head of universities think tank Million+.

In an open letter to Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg Professor Michael Gunn, Vice-Chancellor of Staffordshire University and Million+ chair has called for intervention to prevent the fund from being cut by £200 million as part of savings in the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills budget for 2014-15.

The think tank is also concerned that the Government may be planning to abolish the fund completely in 2015-16.

It is understood that the battle over opportunity funding may be contributing to a
delay in the Government’s annual grant letter to the Higher Education Funding Council for England, which sets out the coming year’s funding plans and priorities.

Professor Gunn said: "The Student Opportunity Allocation is the last remaining direct funding from Government to support universities which recruit students from a wide range of backgrounds.

"Social mobility does not stop at the school gate and there is simply no case to cut Student Opportunity funding in universities.”