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Students' financial backgrounds

Disclosure date: 29 August 2013

Reference: FOI2013/071

Request

1.) The proportion of your undergraduate body that attended an independent (fee paying) school.

2.) What proportion of those students did not receive a scholarship or any similar financial support

3.) The proportion of your undergraduate body that receives some form of means tested financial support from the government

4.) Any more detailed statistics on the proportion of your undergraduate body that receives the varying tiers of support from the government

5.) The proportion of your undergraduate body that qualified for free school meals

Response

1.) SOAS does not hold reliable data to be able to answer this question.

2.) Given the above, it is not possible to answer this question with any certainty, but the available information suggests that no students who attended an independent school received financial support. If any do, the figure is very small.

3.) It is not clear what you intend from this question. Do you mean those who receive a loan from the Student Loans Company? Or just those who receive a bursary or grant? The difficulty in answering the latter question is that it would require staff to trawl manually through each individual student record to identify whether a bursary has been provided. With over 2500 undergraduates, assuming 30 seconds per record, this would take over 20 hours of staff time. Section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act allows SOAS to refuse requests that exceed the appropriate limit. The limit is defined in regulations as £450. Given that staff time is calculated at £25 in line with these regulations, we estimate that it would cost in excess of £500 to answer this question, exceeding the appropriate limit.

4.) As the above answers indicate, SOAS does not hold comprehensive information on how its students are funded. In many cases we may well not have any involvement in the funding process. Identifying information that is held is an expensive process in terms of staff time, and it is likely that it would not be possible to provide more details within the cost limit of £450, especially if the overall cost of your questions is aggregated.

5.) This information is not held by SOAS.