George Osborne Just Scrapped Maintenance Grants For Students
George Osborne today announced in his Budget that Maintenance Grants are to be scrapped and replaced by loans.
The current system sees students from households earning £25,000 or less receiving a non-repayable grant of over £3,000. The maintenance grant was introduced to ensure that poorer students didn’t leave university with significantly more debt than their more well-off peers.
George Osborne said the grants were unfair.
“There’s a basic unfairness in asking taxpayers to pay for grants for those who are likely to earn more than them” said the chancellor.
Students starting university in 2015 are still eligible for grants. The replacement loan scheme will begin in 2016. As well as these changes, the maximum maintenance loan has been increased to £8,200 a year.
These changes will see the poorest students in the UK leaving a three-year course with over £50,000 in student debt.
Students’ Unions have been responding to the decision.
The University of Manchester’s Students’ Union released this statement earlier today:
“Today the Chancellor announced that he will scrap the last of the maintenance grants for the poorest students in our country. Instead, they will be converted into loans, meaning that the poorest students will now have an even larger amounted debt by the end of their degree, much more than their wealthier counterparts…
“We find this policy disgraceful and it will have a negative impact on our students who will now be burdened with more debt for even longer. We believe that this will discourage further people from lower income backgrounds from attending university.”
Similarly, Lancaster’s Students’ Union had this to say:
“Cost of living is one of the most serious issues facing students today and saddling young people with huge debts that will burden them years into the future is unfair and totally unacceptable.
“This cut will create yet another barrier to students from under-privileged backgrounds getting access to higher education and serve to widen the divide between rich and poor in our society.
“We condemn this decision in the strongest terms and urge the Government to reverse this short-sighted and unfair decision. We will proudly be an active part of the national movement fighting against this decision.”
University of Birmingham’s Guild of Students also released a statement:
“The Guild of Students would like to make it clear that we utterly oppose the scrapping of maintenance grants. Furthermore, we believe that this move directly targets our least-advantaged students, who (being less able to depend on the financial support of family and friends) will be forced to depend on loans during their time at University to meet basic costs.
“We believe that the Summer Budget proposals set out yet more unreasonable barriers to accessing higher education.”