LOANS for students should be increased to help them during the cost of living crisis, say university bosses.
The University of Worcester and Worcester Students’ Union want the government to increase maintenance loans.
The Government confirmed on Wednesday that maintenance loans and grants for undergraduate and postgraduate students would rise by just 2.8 per cent for the 2023/24 academic year, well below the current 10.7% rate of inflation.
Professor David Green CBE DL, Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive at the University of Worcester, said: “As a university, we are committed to doing all we can to help our students at this time of rising costs. We are seeing increasing applications to our generous Access to Learning Fund and have provided many students with help via this route.
“We are pleased that the Government has committed a further £15m to support hardship funds. However, the reality is that this only amounts to around £6 per student.
“We know that things are difficult for many students, and it is therefore very disappointing that the maintenance loan will only rise by 2.8%. Students should be able to borrow more at this time of need.”
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The Government also confirmed that tuition fees will stay frozen at £9,250 for the next two years and that there will be no restoration of government grants.
Gemma Allcott and Meg Lee, vice presidents of Worcester Students’ Union, in a joint statement said: “Alongside rising energy bills, rent and transport costs, this increase is not going to be enough to make a meaningful difference to our students.
“We acknowledge the government is increasing hardship funding available to universities by £15 million. However, this does not go far enough to address the financial issues we see our students facing.
“At Worcester Students’ Union, we regularly see students impacted by the cost of living and call on the Government to take meaningful action to support our students, who will go on to be valuable working members of our society.”
With fees frozen since 2017 and rising inflation, universities receive £4,400 less per student every year which the University of Worcester say is causing financial difficulties for many institutions.
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From September 2020 students studying undergraduate Nursing, Midwifery, Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy and Paramedic Science courses have been eligible for a non-repayable and non-means-tested payment of at least £5,000 a year, in addition to existing mainstream student support.
Some undergraduate and postgraduate courses leading to Qualified Teacher Status are also eligible for bursaries.
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