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Power to make alternative payments

Part of Higher Education and Research Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:00 pm on 13th October 2016.

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New clause 13—Student support: restricted modification of repayment terms—

“(1) Section 22 of the Teaching and Higher Education Act 1998 (power to give financial support to students) is amended in accordance with subsections (2) to (4).

(2) In subsection (2)(g) at the beginning insert “Subject to subsections (3)(A) and (3)(B),”.

(3) In subsection (2)(g) leave out from “section” to the end of subsection (2)(g).

(4) After subsection (3) insert—

“(3A) Other than in accordance with subsection (3B), no provision may be made under subsection (2)(g) relating to the repayment of a loan that has been made available under this section once the parties to that loan (including the borrower) have agreed the terms and conditions of repayment, including during—

(a) the period of enrolment on a course specified under subsection (1)(a) or (1)(b), and

(b) the period of repayment.

(3B) Any modification to any requirement or other provision relating to the repayment of a loan made available under this section and during the periods specified in subsection (3A) shall only be made if approved by an independent panel.

(3C) The independent panel shall approve modifications under subsection (3B) if such modifications meet conditions to be determined by the panel.

(3D) The approval conditions under subsection (3C) must include that—

(a) the modification is subject to consultation with representatives of the borrowers,

(b) the majority of the representative group consider the modification to be favourable to the majority of students and graduates who have entered loans, and

(c) there is evidence that those on low incomes will be protected.

(3E) The independent panel shall consist of three people appointed by the Secretary of State, who (between them) must have experience of—

(a) consumer protection,

(b) loan modification and mediation,

(c) the higher education sector, and

(d) student finance.”