Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Maintenance Grants provide vital support for Students

The government are to scrap maintenance grants for students from poorer backgrounds, replacing them with additional loans.

This change would mean that the poorest 40% of students going to university in England will graduate with debts of up to £53,000 from a three-year course. It will impact on students studying at further education colleges, and will especially affect students from BME, disabled, older learners and women.

In 2014, 266 students at Wigan & Leigh College were eligible for a maintenance grant totalling £919,311.

These sweeping changes – which were not in the Conservative election manifesto - were attempted to be forced through in committee rather than on the floor of the House of Commons, hidden away from public scrutiny.

Yesterday, Labour held a debate and a vote on the floor of the House of Commons, to challenge the government and try and halt their decision to scrap maintenance grants for loans.

Maintenance grants provide vital support for students from lower income backgrounds from Makerfield, and ensure that poorer students do not leave university with greater debts than their more privileged peers. But this could change if the Tories force through their plans.

The government should be doing all it can to ensure that those from the poorest backgrounds reach their full potential. This change would do the opposite, and could make poorer students think twice about going into higher education due to the considerable debts they will rack-up in the process.”

The Labour motion to stop the abolition was voted down by Tory MPs.

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