Students who come from families on lower incomes are set to lose out on university maintenance grants, after Chancellor George Osborne announced in his 2015 Budget that they are “unaffordable”, with plans for them to be replaced by loans.
These new loans, which are targeted at students on lower incomes, will be worth more money, at £8,200 annually, although they will be required to pay this back once they earn more than £21,000 a year.
These new loans will replace maintenance grants from the start of the 2016/17 academic year.
At the moment, students whose family’s income is £25,000 or less annually, are eligible for £3,387 a year, the full grant. This money comes from taxpayers, and is worth almost £1.6bn each year, with more than half a million university students receiving financial assistance in the form of a maintenance grant.
The cap on the number of students allowed is set to be removed, which means that the total worth of the grants could have reached £3bn in the next decade.
Mr Osborne described it as “basic unfairness in asking taxpayers to fund grants for people who are likely to earn a lot more than them.”
Megan Dunn, the president of the National Union of Students (NUS), said: “Cutting maintenance grants would be detrimental to hundreds of thousands of our poorest students who currently rely on it, and could risk putting many people off applying to university.”