- Posted by: Valerie Vaz MP
- Category: News
I was signatory to a letter to the Education Secretary to ask for further support for students.
The Government intends to uprate Student Maintenance Loans by only 2.8% in September. Despite the fact that inflation is currently over 10%, and a 2.8% increase will represent a £1500 drop in the real-terms value of student maintenance loans since 2020/2021. This below inflation rise comes after years of cuts to student support.
Students are not immune from rising costs. According to the National Student Money Survey, student living costs have seen a 14% increase since 2021, with the average student’s maintenance loan falling short of covering their living costs by £439 every month in 2022. This will be disastrous for many low and middle income families. As the amount of Maintenance Loan students receive is means tested against parental income, and the expectation that students will make up the shortfall of their living costs remains, the desperate squeeze on living standards will have a significant impact on the number of potential students who feel able to take up a place at university. Polling for Universities UK shows 91% of students are concerned about the cost of living, and students are leaving courses due to the unaffordability of their living costs.
We cannot allow Higher Education to simply become the preserve of those with the means to pay for it and throw away the life chances of the scores of intelligent and capable young people who need the Government to support them to reach their full potential.
We urge the Government to think again, and review the decision on uprating Maintenance Loans to fully reflect the genuine cost of living for students.