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Students: Loans

Question for Department for Education

UIN HL8387, tabled on 22 September 2020

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that university maintenance loans reflect student living costs.

Answered on

6 October 2020

The loan for living costs is a contribution towards students’ living costs while they attend university, with the greatest amount of support made available to students from families with the lowest incomes. Different rates of student loan apply depending on where a student is living and studying, with the highest rates for students living away from home and studying in London.

The government reviews support for living costs on an annual basis. Maximum support for living costs increased by 10.3% in cash terms for eligible new students on the lowest incomes in 2016/17, compared to the maximum support available for new starters in 2015/16 under the previous system.

Further inflationary increases in support for living costs have been made in each academic year since, with an increase of 2.9% announced for the 2020/21 academic year and 3.1% for the 2021/22 academic year – taking the support available for students from the lowest income background to record levels in cash terms. In 2019, we saw record rates of disadvantaged 18 year-olds accepted to study at university on a full-time basis, with an increase of 1.4 percentage points to 21.6%. This means that 18 year-olds from disadvantaged backgrounds were 62% more likely to go to university in 2019 than in 2009. The latest data for the 2020 admissions cycle show that this progess has continued, with the entry rate for students from disadvantaged backgrounds greater than last year.

In addition to the standard living costs package, many universities and colleges also offer specific funds, bursaries, and scholarships for eligible students.