Older People: Student Loans

House of Lords written question – answered on 21st April 2008.

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Photo of Lord Ouseley Lord Ouseley Crossbench

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they are proposing action to eliminate discrimination in the provision of student loans to people over the age of 55.

Photo of Baroness Morgan of Drefelin Baroness Morgan of Drefelin Government Whip, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills)

In 2006-07, the age limit was raised to 60 years of age, and the additional requirement for the student to enter into an agreement to work after their studies was removed. Eligibility for student loans prior to 2006 was limited to students aged under 55 or under 50 for students not intending to enter employment upon graduating.

During the passage of the Higher Education Act 2004 through Parliament, concerns were raised about the upper age limit on student loans. The Government agreed to set up a working group in response to these concerns to look at the issues. The working group, including, among others, Baroness Greengross, representatives from Age Concern, the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education, the NUS and UUK, met on 28 September and 30 November 2004 and presented its findings to the Minister on 19 January 2005.

Following these meetings, the Minister agreed that there should be no age limit applied to the fee loan when this was introduced in 2006 and agreed to review the current position on age limits for maintenance loans with the intention of increasing this to match the state pension age for the 2006-07 academic year.

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