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Students: Loans

Question for Department for Education

UIN 90300, tabled on 15 September 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending maintenance loans to distance learners.

Answered on

23 September 2020

Loans for living costs are not available to students on distance learning courses such as those offered by the Open University, except in cases where a student is undertaking a course by distance learning because they are unable to attend the course in person for a reason relating to their disability.

Loans for living costs were introduced for students attending part-time courses at honours degree or equivalent level from the 2018/19 academic year onwards but not for part-time distance learning courses such as those offered by the Open University.

The government remains committed to tackling the decline in part-time undergraduate higher education. The independent panel’s report on the Review of Post-18 Education and Funding was published in May 2019. We are considering the recommendations of the Augar Report, including those relating to part-time and flexible learning, as part of the Review of Post-18 Education and Funding, and plan to respond at the forthcoming Spending Review.

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