Following the public outlining of George Osborne’s budget, it seems the government has clear plans for the future of students.
In the budget, Mr Osborne stated that maintenance grants for students would be scrapped because they have become “unaffordable“.
Until now, students whose annual family income was less than £25,000 received the full grant of £3,387, with this number then being reduced dependent on family incomes above the £25,000 threshold.
Part of the government’s decision to abandon maintenance grants comes down to last year’s lifting of the cap of numbers of students universities can accept. Mr Osborne said that this could mean that the £1.57 billion of taxpayers’ money currently spent on student maintenance grants could rise to £3 billion in the next decade if the grants are not cut.
Mr Osborne backed these figures up by talking about the
“basic unfairness in asking taxpayers to fund grants for people who are likely to earn a lot more than them.“
He went on to also say,
“If we don’t tackle this problem, then universities will become under-funded and our students won’t get places, and I’m not prepared to let that happen.“
In addition to this, the now majority Conservative government has also stated that university tuition fees could rise with inflation above the £9000 fee that was fixed in 2012.
However, while the government sees this as a step forward, some critics say that these changes will put off students from low and middle income backgrounds.
Mr Osborne’s announcement comes just weeks after the first lot of undergraduate students paying £9000 finished their final year of teaching. Many of those graduating this year stated, when asked, that they did not feel they benefited any more than those students who previously paid £3000 a year, and that the tripled fees were not “worth it“.