Universities should do more to support ex-service personnel and the children of servicemen and women who have lost their lives during duty, the UK Government has urged…

In a joint letter to all UK universities, the Universities Minister and Defence Minister have called on institutions to step up and support those that have sacrificed the most, by signing up to the Armed Forces Covenant. The Covenant aims to remove barriers faced by members of the forces community in accessing public services, including education. Only 57 of 136 universities have signed up to the Covenant to date.

Universities can support the Covenant in a number of ways including ensuring admissions policies reflect the needs of the armed forces community, benchmarking military experience and qualifications against course entry requirements or having a presence at local careers fairs for those leaving the services.

The Ministers are also calling on universities to establish armed forces champions within each institution, which would be empowered to uphold the commitments of the Covenant, and to act as a first point of contact for the military community, service charities, and local businesses.

The call comes as the Department for Education confirms £5 million in continued funding for higher education schemes in England for the armed forces. The Service Leavers Scheme pays the tuition fees for ex-service personnel who have not studied higher education before, and the Armed Forces Bereavement Scheme provides university scholarships for children of those killed in the line of duty.

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