Valerie discusses Further Education loans with Students from Walsall College

Students from Walsall College met with Valerie on Friday 22 June 2012 . They  are concerned about the Government’s plans to require students aged over 24 studying for A-Level equivalent qualifications to take out loans to pay their course fees.
The Government proposes to remove the funding it currently provides for students aged over 24 studying for A-Level equivalent qualifications. This will mean that from the start of the 2013/14 academic year, students aged over 24 will need to take out loans to cover course fees of up to £4000 a year. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills’ own research predicts that at least 20% of students affected will leave their courses as a result of the changes.
Valerie said:
“The students who came to see me were very concerned about the likely effect that the Government’s proposed changes will have on  them. A highly qualified workforce is vital to generating growth and promoting economic recovery, yet the Government’s policy will deter young people who aspire to improve their skills and earn new qualifications.”
“At the meeting, the students told me that 1,070 students at Walsall College would have been affected if the policy had been in place for the 2011/12 academic year, of whom 65% are women. Several of the students said that they would think twice about starting a course if it meant that they would immediately be in debt. I hope the Government will see that this policy is short sighted and will be an obstacle to long term growth”