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Student Maintenance Grants Replaced by Additional Loans

Posted by Richard Ward in ,

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons

In a move that's been labelled as "disgraceful" by the National Union of Students, students starting university courses in England will no longer be able to apply for grants towards living costs.

As of Monday, those students from low income backgrounds, who previously could have applied for a grant to cover the cost of living at university will now need to apply for an additional loan.

Previously those students coming from a household with an annual income of £25,000 or less could have received a full grant of £3,387 a year that could be used towards covering living expenses. However, these have been scrapped in favour of maintenance loans, an announcement made by the then Chancellor, George Osborne in July 2015.

The government proposed that it was unfair to ask for taxpayers to fund grants for people who are likely to earn a lot more than them. However, as we have recently seen, the latest report from the Intergenerational Foundation concluded that the graduate pay premium a student can expect to earn over their lifetime was wiped out by debt repayments.

According to NUS vice-president Sorana Vieru the latest move "punishes poorer students simply for being poor, so they have to take a bigger loan than those students from privileged background".

There are concerns that the move could deter those from less privileged background from applying to university as well as more mature students who are general more debt-averse.