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KCL Bursary For Most Underprivileged Students Lowest Amongst Top London Unis

A photo of the outside of a King's College London Building

Features Editor Fred Taylor addresses the level of student support offered by King’s College London in comparison to other London universities.

Research conducted by Roar News has found that the King’s Living Bursary provides the lowest levels of default financial support to students in the lowest bracket of household income out of all London Russell Group universities.

The King’s Living Bursary, a key part of “King’s commitment to financially assisting students who need extra funding to complete their studies”, gives £1,600 to students whose house income is below £25,000 per year. This number has not increased since 2012, despite an increase in average rent cost of more than 60% since 2015 and the price of goods having risen by a third since 2013. King’s also offers £1,500 to students whose families earn between £25,000 and £33,500 and £1,200 to students whose family income is between £33,500 and £42,500.

The neighbouring London School of Economics (LSE) has a living bursary scheme which is more generous to those from less affluent families. The payment plan offers £4,000 to students whose family income is below £18,000 and £3,500 to those whose family income sits between £18,000 and £25,000. The bursary scheme’s top payment is £500, given to students whose families earn between £35,000 and £42,800. KCL’s University of London (UoL) peer institution, University College London (UCL), offers £3,000 to those whose families receive less than £16,000; £2,000 to families whose income sits between £16,000 and £25,000; £1,500 to those between £25,000 and £37,000 and £1,000 to family incomes between £27,000 and £42,875.

The Imperial College London (ICL) bursary starts at a substantial £5,000 for those whose family income is lower than £16,000. It supports students all the way up to those whose families earn less than £70,000, giving those in the top bracket £1,000 in annual support. This means a student with a family income of just under £60,000 at Imperial would receive more in bursary payments than a KCL student without any household income at all.

LSE and ICL both provide more than double the standard support that King’s offers to students whose household income is below £16,000. KCL’s rival university UCL also provides a lot more financial backing for these students, clocking in at a little less than double the £1,600 KCL offers.

Travelling across to East London, Queen Mary’s University of London (QMUL) offers £1,700 to those whose families earn less than £20,000, but only offers £1,000 to those whose families earn between £20,000 and £35,000.

Therefore, a King’s student whose family earns £20,000 or less would receive more financial support at any other London Russell Group university. A student whose family income lies between £20,000 and £35,000 would only get less at QMUL. Queen Mary’s is situated in East London, an area cheaper than where most of KCL’s campuses are found.

Amidst complaints of high rents charged at KCL Residences and claims that the university offers insufficient support to its disabled students, the comparatively low funding of its bursary programme will add to concerns about the delivery of King’s promise of social mobility. However, 48% of King’s domestic undergraduate students are from ‘widening participation’ categories. KCL spend £10 million annually on the bursary programme and the university state that they provide more bursaries than any other Russell Group university in London other than Queen Mary’s. There are also a suite of other funding opportunities offered by the university, available to international and domestic, undergraduate and postgraduate students. King’s placed fifth on the 2022 HEPI Social Mobility Index, which measures the success of these programmes.

Students who qualify for a bursary do not need to apply. They will be contacted by the university later on in the term with further information on how to receive the funding. To find out more about other King’s College London funding opportunities, including the hardship fund for students who find themselves in financial difficulty, click here.

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