NASMA response - Budget 2015 Maintenance grants cut

Posted: 09-07-2015

“NASMA are disappointed by the UK Governments decision to scrap Maintenance Grants for English students from 2016/17. Whilst we are pleased to see the potential of more money being provided directly to students to help meet their cost of living we are extremely concerned at the impact this will have on access rates for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. The ethos of this policy seems to be ‘the lower your income, the more debt you can have’ which contradicts the widening participation strategy that many have worked so hard to implement within Higher Education.

This alongside the prospect of Tuition Fees rising with inflation means that student debt will continue to rise to astronomic levels. Under the current repayment system, it would suggest that the majority of these loans will be wiped 30 years after a student graduates which suggests that the future repayment arrangements will change drastically in order to make this change financially viable and worthwhile for the UK Government. NASMA are therefore keen to see more detail on this proposal, but believe that the student loan repayment method should not be altered after a student has taken the loan. We would therefore urge the UK Government to be more transparent about the long term future of these repayment terms so that students can make an informed choice before starting University.

At a time when the UK government preaches about austerity, it seems to contradict itself when it comes to the lives of UK students and the normality of debt it encourages young people to enter. With this increase in student debt and having already lost ring fenced Hardship Funding, NASMA hopes the UK Government will commit to helping students learn to manage their money both within their education and beyond. This should further promote and support the importance of the financial literacy schemes and high quality information, advice and guidance our members provide within Higher Education across the UK on a daily basis.”

Rob Ellis - NASMA Chair