New funding to remove barriers to postgraduate study


Postgraduate students hoping to study at Leeds are set to receive additional support thanks to a new grant from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).

A consortium of universities, including Leeds, is to receive an award of nearly £3 million from HEFCE’s Postgraduate Support Scheme (PSS), which aims to increase access to postgraduate education. 

The funds will support initiatives to attract students considering postgraduate study amongst under-represented groups, such as those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The University of Leeds is joined by the University of Sheffield, which has led the consortium bid, along with Manchester, Newcastle, Warwick and York universities. 

Together, they have matched funds to create a total of more than £5 million to invest in academic innovation, student financial support and intervention initiatives to facilitate entry to postgraduate study, making it the largest of the 20 projects supported by HEFCE.

These include new financial support packages for taught postgraduates, such as scholarships and fee waivers, new and innovative masters degrees, and targeted intervention, as well as advice to encourage and enable graduates to enter postgraduate taught study.

Work will also take place to develop an understanding of which groups are under-represented in postgraduate study and why. This will be used to benchmark to evaluate the success of the interventions.

Louise Banahene, Head of Educational Engagement at the University of Leeds, said: “We are working hard to increase opportunities for postgraduate education. Initiatives such as these will go a long way towards encouraging students to continue their studies, especially those who would not otherwise consider progressing to this level. 

“Taught postgraduate degrees are a great step towards enhancing employability. If you’re looking to build a career then a masters degree is often a minimum requirement, or it can be excellent preparation for higher level research degrees such as an MPhil or PhD. We are delighted Leeds is working with other Russell Group universities to support talented students, regardless of background, make the most of these opportunities.”

Leader of the consortium bid, Dr Tony Strike from the University of Sheffield, added: “The universities’ combined scale and expertise in delivering innovative postgraduate programmes will impact social mobility and provide more of the skills needed for sustainability and growth in the economy.”

The grant forms part of a larger £25 million pot of cash to be distributed to universities and colleges across the country. For more information, visit the HEFCE website
For further media information

Please contact Rachel Barson, University of Leeds press office, 0113 343 2060 or email