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Ask your MP to #CutTheCosts, not maintenance grants

Tuesday 11-08-2015 - 13:00

Join thousands of other students on Friday 18 September and persuade your MP to #CutTheCosts and reverse the government’s plans to scrap maintenance grants.

The government announced in the budget last month that it intends to scrap maintenance grants and replace them with loans, putting the poorest students into yet more debt.

So, on Friday 18 September there will be a national constituency lobby where students from around the UK will be meeting with their MP to tell them why they think of scraping grants in favour of loans is a bad idea.


What are maintenance grants and what will be the impact of the proposed changes?

  • Maintenance grants are given to students from lower income households to help with their living costs.
  • The maximum grant is £3,387 per year for students whose household income is less than £25k.
  • NUS understands that currently, approximately 500,000 students rely on maintenance grants
  • The government proposals would stop all grants to new students from September 2016, forcing poorer students to take on further debt to fund their studies.

NUS research shows that over a third of students would have chosen not to go to university without the help of a grant.

If the government gets its way and maintenance grants are replaced with loans, the impact will be detrimental to hundreds of thousands of the poorest students studying in England for years to come, and may place pressure on the governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to follow suit.

A recent poll conducted by YouGov found that replacing grants with loans was the least popular measure in the budget, highlighting that the public do not back the reforms.


What can we do?

By meeting your MPs across the UK we can press them on their stance, and assess and build the level of opposition to scrapping the grants among MPs. The more students who meet with their MPs, the stronger our case.


How do we set up a meeting with our MPs?

  1. Write to your MP to request a meeting on 18 September using this template letter.
  2. Use this briefing for a step by step guide to securing and having a successful meeting with your MP.
  3. Read these FAQs for answers to some of the arguments MPs may use to justify the changes.

 

What else can we do over the summer?

  1. Download the campaign pack for a summary of everything you can do and the resources available.
  1. Collect stories from students to demonstrate the real impact these changes could have and tweet them using #CutTheCosts.
  2. Ask for the support of your VC or Principal using this template letter.
  3. Build your campaign locally by asking organisations to sign this statement of support.
  4. Get your friends and family to sign this petition to stop the axing of maintenance grants.
  5. Add a #CutTheCosts Twibbon to your Twitter picture.

 

Why Friday 18 September? 

We know that September is a really busy time of year for you all and that for many of you – particularly in higher education institutions - your students won’t yet be around. But if we don’t act now it may be too late.

The government’s likely timetable for proceeding with the measures means that delaying action until later in the year may mean we miss our chance to halt these harsh changes.

We cannot allow George Osborne to write off the most vulnerable, let down the future talent of this country and price students out of higher education – which is why saving maintenance grants that support the poorest students is our utmost priority.


If you have any questions about the campaign, please email campaigns@nus.org.uk

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