New Bursary helps Abingdon and Witney College students with travel costs
Abingdon and Witney Head of College Services, Russell Paul, says: “We expect the new travel bursary will offer some financial help to around 250 of our students who would otherwise find the cost of getting to college a challenge. Our message to students is if you think travel costs are an issue for you, don’t let that put you off applying - please ask us, as there are a number of initiatives that we can use to help.”
The College has also been working with local bus companies to improve their offer to students, which means more of the bus passes they pay for are valid on more services and in evenings and weekends. Thames Travel General Manager, Max McCarthy, says: “We’ve been working with the College to make its Abingdon campus as accessible and affordable as possible for existing and potential students. Our Smartcard the key allows under-19s to travel over a wide area on our services and those of the Oxford Bus Company for just over a £100 a term, and the holidays. In addition there’s an extra peak time journey from Didcot to Abingdon College on the 32 service, and we’ve recently taken over the 114 service from Wallingford to Abingdon via Benson offering many new journey opportunities to and from the college.” The company has a bespoke website to enable students to order bus passes on line and plan their journeys www.oxfordbus.co.uk/awc
Robert Williams, Commercial Manager, Stagecoach in Oxfordshire, says: “Our network of frequent services across Oxfordshire are an easy way to get to and from the College, be it Abingdon or Witney campus, and our Scholar Megarider passes allow unlimited travel within a chosen area for 4 weeks, one term or a full year, during which time travel in the evenings, weekends and holidays is included at no extra cost.” The company has created a dedicated web page for Abingdon & Witney College students at http://www.stagecoachbus.com/abingdon-witney.aspx
Students not eligible for the Travel Bursary will be asked to order and pay for their bus pass direct with the bus company The Travel Bursary is one of a number of initiatives students can apply to for support with the costs of college. There is also
· A £1,200 guaranteed bursary from the Government to help students who are in care or a care leaver, directly receiving income support because they live on their own or are a young parent, getting Employment Support Allowance and Disability Living Allowance
· Discretionary Student Bursary from the Government to help students on low incomers or from low income families with essential course-related costs such as books, equipment, uniform or essential trips
· Care to Learn Scheme for young parents aged under 20 at the start of their course, which can pay up to £160 per child per week towards any childcare they need while attending college.
Abingdon and Witney College provides people and businesses from communities across Southern and West Oxfordshire with support and facilities to undertake education and skills training. More than 7,000 students every year gain qualifications at the College.