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In July George Osborne announced his plans to scrap the current student finance maintenance grants available to students from 2016 and replace them with another type of student loan. The student grants, which are means tested are typically meant to be used to cover a student’s rent/living arrangement costs, food and other areas of living that occur as a student.

Maintenance grants, which are means-tested, cover a students’ rent and living costs at university and are intended to help those from poorer backgrounds.

But they already cost £1.6billion a year of the business department’s £13billion budget. Officials are concerned that the grant budget could double over the course of the Parliament.

Mr Osborne said: ‘From 2016/17 academic year, we will replace maintenance grants with loans for new students, loans that only have to be paid back once they earn over £21,000 a year.

And to ensure universities are affordable to all students from all backgrounds we will increase the maintenance loan available to £8,200, the highest amount of support ever provided.

‘To ensure our university system is sustainable, we will consult on freezing the loan repayment threshold for five years and will link the student fee cap to inflation for those institutions that can show they offer high-quality teaching.

‘It is a major set of reforms to make sure Britain continues to have the best universities in the world. It is fair to students, fair to taxpayers and vital to secure our long-term economic future.’

He also said university tuition fee caps would be linked to inflation for institutions offering high-quality teaching.

Now as some have argued that nothing has really changed; as students would typically only pay the loan back after finding a job of a salary over £21,000 a year still, I feel that students do have a very good reason to be concerned. For years this was the same, only only now the grants have been removed; slowly but surely financial support for students is diminishing; meaning a number of students find themselves either in debt trying to get an education or struggling for years in a low paid job as they were unable to obtain anything else. As for trying to obtain a job, many need to understand that whilst they are trying to look for a job and get an education in order to get another job, how are students meant to actually live? There is a difference between surviving and living. Just because a student is poor, does it not mean they are not entitled to the same rights and freedoms as a student of a more affluent background?
Like me, I am sure that with this news, many students have been given pause as to their future career plans. I am trying to obtain any job I can at the moment, my dream being to pursue one in childcare, the sad thing being studying a lower level course at my age would cost me more in the short term than it would going to university. The government needs to hear the voices of these students; understand that taking away all the support networks available and then replacing them with nothing is not the way. Pressure has never been a favorable answer for anyone.