1. ITV Report

New grant scheme to help Cornish students go to university

Charlotte Knight, student Photo: ITV Westcountry

A new grant scheme to help more Cornish students go to university has been announced today (Thurs).

Around 4,000 students a year could get financial help with their living costs.

All students would be eligible for a £30 pre-paid card to help pay for books and travel.

Students whose families earn less than £42,500 could apply for an extra £1,200 to study subjects related to local industries, such as agriculture and the marine industry.

Those going to top universities could also apply for an extra £3,000 in funding.

The number of Cornish students attending university is 6% lower than the national average, and Cornwall Council says it aims to change that.

We want to provide hope for young people in Cornwall. They've been hit hardest by the recession and we actually have very low participation levels in Further Education and Higher Education in Cornwall, so we want to boost that. But it's about the economy fundamentally and they are the hope for the future and if our students can do well, that will boost the Cornish economy.

– Kevin Lavery, Chief Executive, Cornwall Council

Cornwall A-Level student Charlotte Knight says the cost of higher education is limiting the choices she and her peers are making.

I've got a lot of friends who are going to Plymouth because they can't physically afford to move away to go further afield. As much as the universities we have locally are fantastic, it means people who really want to go can't afford to go because of travelling. Things are more expensive the further away you go

– A-Level student Charlotte Knight

Watch Kathy Wardle's story here:

The grants will run alongside new apprenticeship and work placement schemes.

£1 million has already been set aside to start the project. More will need to come from European funding and the private sector.

The idea still has to be approved by Cornwall Council's cabinet in September.