Sir – Quite reasonably, Ian Flintoff (Letters, September 8) raises fears that the £9,000 per year tuition fee to be charged by Oxford’s two universities from 2012 “will be likely to make the less well-off young people of Oxford even less likely to contemplate going to university in our own city” and reflects that “unofficially, it was thought that Oxford University — and Brookes — might allocate special places, or ‘Oxford Scholarships’, to the less well-off in our own city”.

Clarification is required:

  • On ‘Oxford Scholarships’, Oxford Brookes already awards “Community Scholarships of £1,000 in the first year and £500 in years 2 and 3”: these scholarships are open to those who apply to Brookes from a state-maintained secondary school or college of further education located in the Brookes catchment area. In addition, Oxford Brookes continues to award main bursaries and grant fee waivers and administers Transition from Care Bursaries of up to £2,000 per annum.
  • While Oxford University doesn’t offer community scholarships, it will provide both fee waivers and bursaries “in response to the new tuition fees”. More significantly, by building on the existing Oxford Opportunity Bursary Scheme, Oxford will “be able to offer a generous financial support package for students from the lowest-income households starting their undergraduate studies here in 2012”. Lowest-income households are those whose annual household income falls below £16,000: the highest level of support for a less well-off student will from 2012 be £10,000 in the first year and over £6,000 for each year thereafter.

    Beyond this, Oxford colleges award scholarships and bursaries which run from £1,000 to £2,000 a year for students who are not eligible for Oxford Opportunity Bursaries.

    These awards are/will be in addition to the “support” available from the Government, so some hope for “the Oxford Young”.

    Bruce Ross-Smith, Headington