Labour challenges end of student grants

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Student protestFacsimile copyright Getty Images
Image caption Students protested in the autumn against sketches to scrap maintenance loans

Labour is calling on the government to abandon its ttern to scrap maintenance grants for the poorest students in England and replace them with advances.

In a debate in the House of Commons, Labour’s Gordon Marsden will give prior notice that not enough consideration has been given to the im ct on low-income families.

From this autumn, means-tested supplies are to be switched to loans re yable after graduation.

The government says the modifies will mean extra support for students.

The motion to be put forward by Strive on Tuesday afternoon will call on the government to reverse its decision to oust the last non-re yable grants to help with students’ living costs.

Until now, there has been a means-testing deal with for student living costs – with the poorest provided with up to £3,387 per year unexpectedly non-re yable support, with the aim of reducing financial barriers to university.

But as an alternative of grants, under the system to be introduced by the government, all student finance inclination have to be re id, once students have graduated and are earning at barely £21,000 per year.

It will end the decades-long process which has seen schoolboy grants incrementally switching to loans.

Labour will argue that the rejecting of maintenance grants is not “technical tinkering” but a fundamental change in direction, which longing affect half a million students from low-income families.

Mr Marsden, Strain’s shadow universities minister, will say the decision is a “leap in the dark” mentioned without adequate scrutiny for such a “step change”.

The National Bund of Students says many students are already struggling to meet their lodge costs, such as accommodation, transport and food.

NUS president Megan Dunn hints the grants have been a “lifeline” for poorer students “important for plateful students not just get to university but also to stay there”.

Among those who last will and testament be starting this autumn, Ms Dunn said: “They bring into the world a real sense of having had this snatched away from them.”

There play a joke on also been concerns raised at the decision not to increase the re yment door-sill of £21,000 with inflation, which means that, in real administration conditions, re yments begin at a lower rate.

The government has also indicated that it command allow universities to charge more than £9,000 per year for teaching fees, if they can show a high quality of teaching.

A spokesman for the Trust in for Business, Innovation and Skills says that the changes to student care will mean more support for students when they most deprivation it.

Students from the lowest-income households, studying outside London, purpose be able to borrow £8,200 per year, an increase of £766.

“Everyone with the implied to benefit from higher education should have the opportunity to do so and our practice means that a lack of finance should not be a barrier to rtici tion,” the spokesman said.

“Our substitutions will increase the overall living costs support we provide to swots.”

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