Contact Us

E: press.office@beds.ac.uk
T: +44 (0)1582 489399

For out of hours press queries phone: +44 (0)7734 981212

Poorer students need access to a ‘living loan’ to remain at university

Beds students

Tue 8th May, 2018

The Government should introduce a ‘living loan’ to ensure students from the most disadvantaged groups are able to remain at university and have a good student experience, says the University of Bedfordshire’s Vice Chancellor.

In a joint submission with the University’s Students Union, to the Review of Post-18 Education and Funding, the Vice Chancellor Bill Rammell and Higher Education Minister in the last Labour Government, describes how higher education has played a critical role in expanding social mobility – students from disadvantaged backgrounds in England are 74% more likely to enter higher education than ten years ago – but that was now challenged by a lack of funds while studying.

The Vice Chancellor explained: “Our students have made clear that the greatest challenge for them is the cost of living. The student maintenance system should be reformed, with the introduction of a ‘living loan’ sufficient to cover the cost of living and the restoration of non-repayable maintenance grants for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

“This will offer all students a maximum loan sufficient to cover the cost of living while studying. The best way to achieve this may be to remove the income contingent nature of maintenance loan support, and to set a standard maximum maintenance loan of £8,700, with annual inflationary uplifts.”

One graduate explained: “For those, like me, who have children and live alone, the funding is nowhere near enough. I really struggled and had to many times rely on food banks and live in rent arrears just to complete my degree. The experience wasn't as great as it should have been and financially, as a family, we really struggled. We were getting everything we were entitled to as a single parent family.”

Bedfordshire’s submission makes five recommendations to the review panel.

  1. Policy should continue to be driven by the objective of expanding high quality post-18 education that meets the country’s skills needs and offers students the best possible experience. This requires sustainable funding.
  2. The student maintenance system should be reformed, with the introduction of a “living loan” sufficient to cover the cost of living and the restoration of non-repayable maintenance grants for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
  3. The student loan system must be fair, and therefore should be designed so students incur no real rate of interest on their student loan.
  4. There has been a significant decline in mature, part-time and nursing students, and intervention is needed to address this.
  5. Prospective students must have choice and be able to access all the information they need to make informed decisions about their post-18 education.

The full submission can be read here.



Bedfordshire University

Latest news» 2018 Archive» May» Poorer students need access to a ‘living loan’ to remain at university