Older Student's Allowance

Oral Answers to Questions — Education – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 25th April 1995.

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Photo of Mr Dennis Turner Mr Dennis Turner , Wolverhampton South East 12:00 am, 25th April 1995

To ask the Secretary of State for Education what representations she has received regarding the withdrawal of the older student's allowance. [19179]

Photo of Tim Boswell Tim Boswell Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Education and Science)

My right hon. Friend has received a number of representations, including those from university administrators and student unions.

Photo of Mr Dennis Turner Mr Dennis Turner , Wolverhampton South East

In terms of encouraging older students to enter higher education, the mature student's allowance has been an outstanding success. How can a Minister with responsibility for education justify a Treasury-led cut that will bring such hardship and difficulties to thousands of mature students?

Photo of Tim Boswell Tim Boswell Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Education and Science)

Any Minister with responsibility for education must consider all priorities in the context of the huge public expenditure on student support and universities, amounting to £6 billion a year in England alone. It is our view that, given that older students receive the full battery of mandatory award—grants and loan provisions from the access fund—and that many of them initiated a career and built up savings, every chance exists that they will continue to come to university in the numbers that have been expanding so rapidly in recent years. The position of all those already on courses has been safeguarded by my right hon. Friend's proposal.