Valerie discusses Government’s Decision to cut Student’ Maintenance Grants

On 19 September 2015 I met with representatives from Wolverhampton University Students’ Union to discuss the Government’s decision to cut maintenance grants for students going to University from 2016/7. The Lobby was part of the National Lobby Day coordinated by the National Union of Students.

Maintenance grants support students from disadvantaged families by helping them with the cost of studying, allowing them to go to university with funding for books, accommodation and subsistence. Since maintenance grants were introduced, there has been an increase in the participation of working class students in higher education. Ending the maintenance grant and replacing it with yet more debt, as the Government proposes, is a highly regressive move that may deter many from the receiving the education they are entitled to. I was told that 70% of graduates are very worried about the end to the maintenance grant and 50% firmly disagree with it.

I have also signed an Early Day Motion (EDM 294) which condemns the proposal to cut grants as a direct attack on the most disadvantaged young people accessing higher education in England. It also urges the Government to halt these plans in favour of a system where students can access more generous grants to cover the rising costs of living.

Link: Statement by Minister for Universities and Science on Higher Education Student Support