We continue to implement new measures to ensure that in the first year of the new fees and funding system our prospective undergraduate students understand the new loans system and how they can finance study at Birkbeck. We hope to overcome barriers to study and to encourage prospective students to apply and enrol. It is important that all staff are able to give students accurate top-level information, and know where to direct them for more detail and specialist advice.
After the Easter break we will be launching the next phase of the “Our Promise to You” campaign. We will be writing to our friends, alumni and supporters, asking them to support us in spreading the message that Birkbeck will support students throughout the process of establishing eligibility for a loan, making the application and accessing additional financial support. A recent survey of prospective undergraduate students has shown that it is the lack of clear information about eligibility and processes for part-time students that is deterring many from applying to study. The campaign aims to address these concerns and reassure prospective students that they will receive the information and support they need from us and should feel confident about starting their studies this autumn.
Staff information sheets
We have created a consolidated staff guide covering the key areas of the new fees and finance information, including fees and loans, eligibility, definition of new and old system students, National Scholarship Programme and Birkbeck bursaries:
Note that the details of the new undergraduate fees and finance are still emerging and the information will be updated regularly. Please direct all enquirers to the website for most up-to-date information.
Open Evenings, finance talks, leaflets and online tools
The next Open Evening will take place on 3 May at the Royal National Hotel, Bedford Way. All staff who are working at the Open Evening are encouraged to attend the staff briefing on fees and finance which will take place at 3:30pm in the Ellis Room at the hotel. The briefing will provide an overview of the latest information about undergraduate fees, loans and bursaries, as well as information about where to direct enquirers for more detailed information.
Undergraduate student finance will again have high visibility at the Open Evening, with displays, presentations, and staff in ‘Ask me about fees, loans and bursaries’ t-shirts on hand to provide general advice and signpost specialist advisers.
An updated edition of the fees and finance leaflet will be available to hand out to students in time for the 3 May Open Evening.
Those who can’t make it to Open Evening can attend ‘Financing your university course’ workshops to get face-to-face advice and information on loans, bursaries and fee waivers. Following feedback from prospective students that face-to-face advice was the most important source of information about fees and loans, the Widening Access team has increased the number of sessions being run, and they are now taking place fortnightly.
New online tools have been developed for the website, including an interactive tutorial which helps prospective students work out their eligibility for student loans, fee waivers and bursaries; and an option to ‘leave your email’ to receive up-to-date information about fees and loans.
This year’s outdoor and print advertising campaign has been developed to include specific messages about the fees and finance package for 2012 and direct people to the appropriate pages on the website for the full details. Outdoor advertising will take place from 2 April to 24 June across Tube, buses, train stations and shopping centres. The Marketing team are working on a video which will feature four Birkbeck students, from different backgrounds, as they make the decision to study at Birkbeck, exploring information about the College, and the fees and finance information. The video will be ready by the end of April.