Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) wanted to introduce a scheme to provide practical support for students to help cover the additional costs of study, to drive engagement and to help students prepare for the transition from study to employability.
ARU worked with JS Group to design the Books Plus scheme that was introduced to support student learning through a targeted bursary.
The purpose of Books Plus is to support students with the cost of study resources and to encourage student engagement and a sense of belonging.
How it works
- The scheme is universal and students receive £400 each year of study
- In years 1 and 2 the bursary can be spent on learning resources, gym membership, and SU goods and services including clubs and societies
- For final year students a range of employability related items are available to students (interview attire, online language and technical courses, professional memberships etc.)
Students can access their learning resources at the on campus John Smith’s Student Stores or via the ARU online student store at www.arubooksplus.co.uk
As well as providing students with targeted support, the scheme also provides actionable data back to the University in terms of student usage and engagement and this data is incorporated into the student engagement dashboard and personal tutoring system used at ARU.
The results - students
The results - university
Since the introduction of Books Plus, ARU has seen its NSS has improved by 6% reflecting the enhanced levels of student engagement.
The scheme enabled me to buy about 10 books that would have been extremely expensive for me to buy otherwise. Considering how expensive it is for students to study these days, it is a fantastic idea and the help is really appreciated. If you are a reading geek like myself, there is no better way to start Uni life than with lots of free books!
It's made a big difference to my education due to my student loan not being able to cover some living costs let alone educational costs.
For further student responses to the scheme please go to http://www.anglia.ac.uk/student-life/welcome/step-2-prepare-for-study/books-plus
Teaching Excellence Framework
Books Plus was a core component of the University’s TEF submission:
Anglia Ruskin offers a number of schemes to support students and an example of this is our Books Plus Scheme. This programme gives every HEFCE countable UG student £400 per annum to be used via our partner John Smith’s for study resources, our SU or through Anglia Ruskin Sports for a range of activities. The scheme is designed to provide support for student learning and engagement. Feedback from students showed that 86% felt that they would have struggled to buy texts without Books Plus, and 94% said the scheme helped support their studies. 70% said that the funds were sufficient to purchase all of their learning materials (2015/16 Books Plus survey).
In awarding ARU its TEF Silver award, the TEF panel highlighted both the learning resource provision at the University and the student engagement dashboard:
- appropriate support for students at risk of Non-continuation through a Student Engagement dashboard and personal tutoring system
- significant investment in the physical and digital resources used by students to further learning, including the remodelled Library to facilitate a range of learning styles
To find out more about Aspire Engage can help drive student engagement, please contact, David Fox, HE Partnerships Director on