More misery for students as grant changes mean less cash to study

27 January 2010 | last updated: 11 December 2015

UCU today said that changes to the grant system had heaped more misery on students.

Figures published today by the Student Loans Company (SLC) showed a drop in the number of students eligible for grants and the union said full data was urgently needed to assess if students from the poorest backgrounds were missing out on cash they were entitled to.

Ahead of the 2009-10 academic year, the government slashed the household income threshold for a partial grant from £60,005 to £50,020 which has so far left almost half of students (44%) without any form of grant in 2009-10, compared to less than a third (30%) who had no state support in 2008-09. Full data will not be provided until later this year, partly due to the SLC's well-documented failings in processing students' loan applications.

However, the threshold for entitlement to a full grant remained £25,000 and the union said the sharp drop from two in five students (41%) on a full grant in 2008/09 to just a third (35%) in 2009-10 was not consistent with figures on the number of students from the poorest backgrounds going to university.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'Today's figures mean more misery for the thousands of students hit by punitive changes to the grant system and for their parents who are struggling to get by and support their offspring in these tough economic times.

'We were particularly alarmed by the sharp drop in the number of students awarded a full grant. We do not believe the drop is consistent with the number of students applying to university from poorer backgrounds. The SLC and the government must urgently investigate if the students who most need financial support are the ones missing out.'

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