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Oxford college sued over using wealth 'merit' for applicants

An Oxford college is being sued for discriminating against poorer students applying to study for postgraduate courses.

world Updated: Jan 20, 2013 23:10 IST

An Oxford college is being sued for discriminating against poorer students applying to study for postgraduate courses.

St Hugh's, which was founded in 1886, is being taken to court for choosing applicants not just on academic merit, but also on their ability to prove they can pay tens of thousands of pounds for tuition fees and otherc living expenses.

It is claimed that, along with other Oxford colleges, St Hugh's is "selecting by wealth" in asking students with a conditional place at the university to demonstrate that they hold funds to cover tuition fees, plus at least £12,900 a year for living costs.

The university refuses to take into account projected earnings from students who plan to carry out paid work during their course and has only one means-tested scholarship available.

Legal papers submitted by Damien Shannon, 26, who was barred from taking up a place that he won to study economic history because he did not have access to a total of over £21,000 for fees and living costs, said: This month leaders at 11 universities told the Observer of their concerns about the socially divisive impact of rising tuition fees in response to teaching grant cuts and a lack of finance for prospective postgraduate students.