Students: Grants

Department for Education written question – answered am ar 19 Ebrill 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Rosie Duffield Rosie Duffield Llafur, Canterbury

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she has made an assessment of the potential merits of introducing non-repayable maintenance grants for higher education students from the least advantaged backgrounds.

Photo of Luke Hall Luke Hall Minister of State (Education)

The government believes that income contingent student loans are a fair and sensible way of financing higher education (HE). It is only right that those who benefit from the system should make a fair contribution to its costs. The government have continued to increase maximum loans and grants for living and other costs for undergraduate and postgraduate students each year, with a 2.8% increase for the 2023/24 academic year and a further 2.5% increase announced for 2024/25.

In addition, the government have frozen maximum tuition fees for the 2023/24 and 2024/25 academic years. By 2024/25, maximum fees will have been frozen for seven successive years. The department believe that the current fee freeze achieves the best balance between ensuring that the system remains financially sustainable, offering good value for the taxpayer, and reducing debt levels for students in real terms.

The government understands the pressures people have been facing with the cost of living and has taken action to help. The government have already made £276 million of student premium and mental health funding available for the 2023/24 academic year to support successful outcomes for students including disadvantaged students.

The government have also made a further £10 million of support available to help student mental health and hardship funding for the 2023/24 academic year. This funding will complement the help universities are providing through their own bursary, scholarship and hardship support schemes. For the 2024/25 financial year, the government have increased the Student Premium (full-time, part-time, and disabled premium) by £5 million to reflect high demand for hardship support. Further details of this allocation for the academic year 2024/25 will be announced by the Office for Students in the summer.

Overall, support to households to help with the high cost of living is worth £108 billion over 2022/23 to 2024/25, which is an average of £3,800 per UK household. The government believes this will have eased the pressure on family budgets, which will in turn enable many families to provide additional support to their children in HE to help them meet increased living costs.

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