Department for Education written question – answered on 2nd May 2023.
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she plans to take steps to increase maintenance loans for university students in line with inflation.
The government reviews the support provided towards students’ living costs on an annual basis.
The department has continued to increase maximum loans for living costs each year, with a 2.3% increase for the 2022/23 academic year and a further 2.8% increase for the 2023/24 academic year.
Students who have been awarded a loan for living costs that is lower than the maximum for the 2022/23 academic year and whose household income for the tax year 2022/23 has dropped by at least 15% compared to the income provided for their original assessment can apply for their entitlement to be reassessed.
The government recognises the additional cost of living pressures that have arisen this year which have impacted students.
On 11 January 2023, the department announced that student premium funding would be boosted by £15 million. There is now £276 million of student premium funding available this academic year to support students who need additional help. This extra funding will supplement the help universities are already providing through their own bursary, scholarship and hardship support schemes.
The Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding (EBSS AF) is available to over 900,000 households in Great Britain who do not have a domestic electricity supply and were not eligible to receive support automatically through the Energy Bills Support Scheme (EBSS), providing them with £400 to support them with their energy bills. This includes students who receive their electricity through an intermediary (such as a letting agency or a landlord) who has a commercial electricity supply.
Between October 2022 and March 2023, all households saved money on their energy bills through the Energy Price Guarantee. This was in addition to the £400 energy bills discount for all households. Students who buy their energy from a domestic supplier were eligible for the energy bills discount.
Together with the higher education sector, we are doing all that we can to support students facing hardship. However, decisions on student finance have to be taken alongside other spending priorities to ensure the system remains financially sustainable and the costs of higher education are shared fairly between students and taxpayers, not all of whom have benefited from going to university.
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