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Trent lures students with £3,000 golden hello

NOTTINGHAM TRENT University is offering a £3,000 'golden hello' to high flying students who join its BEng course in September, NCE learned this week.

Students joining the course with more than 18 points (three Cs) will be given a bursary of £1,000 a year for three years in a bid to ensure the BEng course quota is filled.

Head of civil engineering Professor Roger Hawkins said a minimum of 10 bursaries would ensure that there would be enough students for the course to survive under the Standards and Routes to Registration reforms coming into effect this year.

'We are one of the institutions in a grey area as far as running a BEng is concerned,' said Hawkins.

'We were faced with a situation where we may not have been able to run one at all.' He added that the university had traditionally struggled to attract students with high grades.

Hawkins warned that if 'middling' universities could not attract enough students to run a BEng course, the polarisation of universities offering civil engineering would get worse.

He said: 'There is a danger under SARTOR that academically strong universities will get stronger; the weaker ones will get weaker. There will be a drift of applications to relatively few universities and a drift of the best staff as well.'

Hawkins said his belief in the benefits of the BEng over the MEng were also instrumental in the decision to offer a cash incentive: 'Industry likes the sandwich course approach. They know a BEng student won't go off and become a lawyer or an accountant. We want to attract high achievers who are committed to becoming engineers.'

Cost of the scheme could be offset by higher levels of research money coming into the institution, although Hawkins warned: 'We don't know yet how many years we will be able to offer these bursaries for.'

The cash offer - the first that has come to light following the SARTOR ruling on minimum A-Level points for BEng courses - has been advertised on the Nottingham Trent website. All applicants for this year's intake have also been told of the payment.

See Analysis page 14

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