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.