Maintenance Grants For The Poorest University Students Have Been Cut And Replaced With Loans
As of Monday, maintenance grants for students from low-income households have been replaced with loans.
The move will affect around 500,000 of England’s students. In the past, students from families who earned £25,000 or less per year would have received a maintenance grant of £3,387 a year. Grants were available for students from families with a household income of up to £46,620, in decreasing amounts as income went up.
With the axing of grants altogether, the government has increased the loans given to poorer students. Students who live outside of London will be loaned up to £8,200 per year, while those studying in London could be loaned up to £10,702 per year.
But the maintenance grants previously given to hundreds of thousands of students didn’t need to be paid back, whereas the loans will.
The move has been met with a great deal of criticism, from both students and NUS representatives, who worry the new plans will leave students in a lot of debt, or put them off uni altogether.
Sorana Vieru, NUS Vice President for Higher Education, took to Twitter to express anger at the decision.
Vieru told BBC Breakfast on Monday that the decision “could put off students from underprivileged backgrounds from applying, who might not understand how the loan system works, or are very debt averse.”
As did many others.
NUS President, Malia Bouattia, and NUS Vice President for Welfare, Shelly Asquith, called for students to protest the cuts.
The government’s intention to cut grants and replace them with increased loans was announced in the 2015 Budget, by former chancellor George Osborne.