Two Lancashire universities are to share nearly £500,000 as part of a drive to encourage more young people into higher education.
Preston’s University of Central Lancashire and Lancaster-based University of Cumbria have received more than £480,000 to lead and further develop collaborative outreach networks.
The cash is from a national scheme funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and aims to deliver a co-ordinated approach to provide information for higher education providers to work with schools and colleges, to help people access higher education.
There will be two networks in the North West. One based in Lancashire which UCLan will lead and one in Cumbria, that the University of Cumbria will lead.
Both networks will also be supported by Lancaster and Edge Hill universities and each will have a single point of contact to help teachers and advisers find out about higher education outreach activity in their area and provide general advice about going into higher education.
UCLan pro vice-chancellor Dr Lynne Livesey, said: “Considerable progress has been made in widening access and achieving student success in recent years. But there is still a long way to go.
She added: “Government figures suggest that a young person’s chance of going to university still depends heavily on where they live, their background and whether they are male or female.”
Dr Livesey said: “At UCLan we already put aside a substantial amount of fee income to support outreach work which is an expensive and long-term commitment. This new Government funding will provide a significant boost in our continued efforts to work together with other universities, colleges and schools to attract talented young people from a diverse range of backgrounds into higher education.”
Ian Sinker, director of partnerships and development at the University of Cumbria added: “Through this formal partnership the University of Cumbria and its partners will be in a strong position to offer young people in Cumbria and Lancashire access to information about progressing into higher education. This agreement formalises and expands on existing work and will go some way to ensure that schools across both counties will have equal access to information about a wide range of opportunities such as summer schools, open days and other activities to get young people excited about higher education irrespective of location or background.”
Colleges involved in one or both of the UCLan and Cumbria networks include Lancaster and Morecambe College; Myerscough College; Preston’s College; and Runshaw College.