University scholarships should be made available to poor 15-year-olds at every school and sixth-form college in England, Simon Hughes has said.
The Liberal Democrat deputy leader said the move would motivate students from disadvantaged backgrounds to achieve the A-level grades needed to go to university.
The bursaries should be worth around £3,000, he said, as smaller amounts are unlikely to encourage poor teenagers to think about higher education. The recommendations are contained in Mr Hughes' report to Government on widening access to universities.
Mr Hughes was appointed the Government's new Advocate for Access to Education in December shortly after abstaining in the crunch Commons vote to raise tuition fees to £9,000.
The Government has announced plans for a National Scholarship Programme which will hand annual awards of around £3,000 to students from disadvantaged backgrounds who are unlikely to go into higher education. The funding is due to be allocated through universities.
Mr Hughes' report calls for the majority of these scholarships to be allocated directly to schools for students to use at the university of their choice.
It says: "If 10,000 scholarships from the National Scholarship Programme were allocated this way then every school and sixth form and further education college could have on average three scholarships available to them."
Mr Hughes suggested that poor youngsters should be told about these scholarships at the age of 15. These teenagers could then apply and take the funding up at age 16 or 17 for university.
"It would motivate youngsters at age 15 to realise that, not only is university an option, but secondly that for some of you, financial help is available," Mr Hughes said.
He acknowledged that there was no guarantee of a scholarship, as there are not enough available, effectively meaning that these teenagers are competing for the funding.