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Students: Loans

Question for Department for Education

UIN 226531, tabled on 27 February 2019

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when his Department plans to make distance-learning maintenance loans available.

Answered on

8 March 2019

The Department for Education had forecast that 20,000 part-time maintenance loans would be issued for the 2018-19 academic year.

Further information can be found in Table 2 of the publication, Student loan forecasts, England: 2017-18:

In January 2019, the Student Loans Company (SLC) published early in-year data on the payments of maintenance loans to part-time students domiciled in England. At the end of December 2019, 2,700 students had been paid a part-time maintenance loan.

Further information can be found in Table 7F of the publication:

The number of part-time maintenance loans issued was lower than had been forecast at this point in the academic year cycle and the demand for a loan product aimed at part-time distance learners is therefore unlikely to be high enough to make the introduction of such a loan economically viable.

In light of this, I have decided not to extend maintenance loans to distance leaners in academic year 2019/20. The government remains committed to tackling the decline in part-time undergraduate higher education. In particular, the Review of Post-18 Education and Funding is considering how we can encourage learning that is more flexible, including part-time and distance learning. The review will report this year.

The SCL will publish guidance relating to part-time maintenance in advance of the application process opening later this year.