Students: Cost of Living

Department for Education written question – answered at on 18 October 2022.

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Photo of Matt Western Matt Western Shadow Minister (Education)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has made an assessment of the impact of the rising cost of living on university student drop-out rates.

Photo of Matt Western Matt Western Shadow Minister (Education)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has conducted an equalities analysis of the potential impact of the rising cost of living on students.

Photo of Matt Western Matt Western Shadow Minister (Education)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to spend the £445,000 ringfenced hardship funding returned to the Department for Education from the Office for Students due to underspending.

Photo of Andrea Jenkyns Andrea Jenkyns The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

The department has confirmed in guidance to the Office for Students (OfS) on funding for the 2022/23 financial year, that universities will continue to be able to support students struggling financially through their own hardship funds and the student premium, for which up to £261 million is available for the 2022/23 academic year.

The department has also worked closely with the OfS to clarify that providers in England can draw upon this funding now, to support disadvantaged students impacted by cost-of-living pressures.

Maximum tuition fees for the 2022/23 academic year, for standard full-time courses, are frozen at £9,250 and will remain frozen in the 2023/24 and 2024/25 academic years. By 2024/25, maximum fees will have been frozen for seven years. As well as reducing debt levels for students, the continued fee freeze will help to ensure that the higher education system remains sustainable while also promoting greater efficiency at providers.

The Energy Price Guarantee announced on 8 September will save the average household at least £1,000 a year based on current energy prices from October and this is in addition to the £400 energy bills discount for all households. Students who buy their energy from a domestic supplier are eligible for the energy bills discount.

As part of the package of support for rising energy bills, the government is also giving a council tax rebate payment of £150 to households that were living in a property in council tax bands A to D as their main home on 1 April 2022. This includes full-time students that do not live in student halls or in property that is not considered a House in Multiple Occupation for council tax purposes.

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