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UCU welcomes increased eligibility for student grants

5 July 2007 | last updated: 14 December 2015

UCU today welcomed the first statement to the House of Commons from the new secretary of state for the department of innovation, universities and skills, John Denham, regarding student finance.

The statement included an announcement of full grants for students in England and Northern Ireland whose families earn less than £25,000 a year will get a full grant - up from the present level of £18,000 - and that graduates would be entitled to a repayment holiday of up to five years.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'We are pleased the government has recognised the struggle many students and their families have trying to make ends meet whilst at university. Making more students eligible for maintenance grants will hopefully prevent students from having to stack shelves or flip burgers when they should be in lectures and seminars.

'We also welcome the idea of a five year repayment holiday for students when they graduate. We hope this will allow them to make more informed choices about their futures. At present students are already graduating with record levels of debt and for many getting on the property ladder or starting a pension are pipe dreams.

'We hope the government will not make life harder for new graduates when it considers what to do with the current loan repayment agreements. Increasing the amount of interest students must pay on loans will further exacerbate the problems they currently face regarding buying a first home or starting a pension.

'We fear it would also lead to graduates possibly surrendering long-held ambitions to pursue careers in key areas because they need to find jobs that pay the most as soon as possible.'