Byline: PATRICK HENNESSY
UNIVERSITY chiefs are to get u48 million of extra cash to help attract more students from less well-off families and with lower than average qualifications.
Both Tony Blair and Education Secretary Charles Clarke have urged universities to do more to "widen access" to disadvantaged students.
The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) announced the extra cash, taking the total funds available for attracting such students to u265 million for the next academic year.
The extra funds, part of a total u5.4 billion package, mean that universities will get a 20 per cent premium for recruiting, and keeping, students from the target categories.
The move will effectively penalise leading universities with big middleclass intakes, such as Oxford and Cambridge, by channelling funds into newer institutions with more working-class students.
The move is the latest twist in the "anti-elitism" row which has rocked the education department.
Bristol University, in particular, has come under intense fire for rejecting bright pupils from independent schools and some top-performing state schools. …