Edge Hill University has won a prestigious national education award for its student support package.

The University was adjudged to have the most ‘Outstanding Student Financial Support Package? at the Times Higher Awards ceremony 2006 which took place at the Hilton Hotel in London.

As well as developing many innovative ways to make higher education more affordable, Edge Hill provides a range of bursaries and scholarships that are linked to keeping an individual in study rather than ‘just giving money away?.

In addition to excellence scholarships across sport, performing arts, volunteering and creative arts worth £2000, the University also offers students from low-income families bursaries of up to £1000, and bursaries for families with siblings in higher education.

Sir Martin Harris, Director of the Office for Fair Access and one of the three judges for the award, said: “Edge Hill?s entry was an excellent example of a broad package of financial support tailored to the needs of a number of underrepresented groups. I was particularly impressed by the range of creative initiatives designed to encourage retention and achievement.”

A delighted Lesley Munro, Edge Hill?s University Secretary, said: “The cost of studying at university, particularly in light of the new tuition fee structure, has never been so important for students in choosing which university to attend.

“From the outset we thought about the real needs of students ? aiming to give value and not gimmicks ? and our Students? Union were instrumental in working with us to determine their needs.

“Along with access, one of the underpinning ideas of our initiative is that of excellence, including aspects of excellence, which would not normally command recognition, and notions of enabling students to reflect on and achieve their full potential,” added Lesley. “As an institution we have a continued and long-standing commitment to widening participation and this award is further proof that we are leading the way in this area.”

Alongside the entrance bursaries and scholarships, Edge Hill also offers a progression bursary that is designed to encourage students to self-evaluate their higher education experience, and the UNI Card students receive with £200 credit towards purchases of computer accessories, photocopying and other general study materials.