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Student loan availability to be extended to non-settled UK residents

Thursday 02-06-2016 - 09:55

Long term UK residents without settled status can now apply for student support following pressure from NUS

In July 2015 the Supreme Court ruled the decision not to grant a student loan to Beaurish Tigere, who had moved to the UK from Zambia aged 6, on the basis she did not have ‘settled’ status in the UK had been unlawful.

Having ‘settled’ status formally refers to having the right to live in the UK indefinitely without any visa restrictions, which can be applied for after having lived in the UK continuously for ten years.

Following her success appealing to the Supreme Court to overturn this decision, the department for Business, Innovation and Skills released plans for the future of student financial support. Included in the plans were proposals to allow non-settled UK residents highly limited access to student loans and offered almost no support for mature learners.

In collaboration with other sector organisations NUS responded to the proposals, demanding that access to student support be improved for all non-settled UK residents, regardless of their age.

Following pressure from NUS Universities Minister Jo Johnson has announced new, more robust plans for the future of student support in a statement released online. Student loans will now be available for those individuals who are:

  • under 18 years of age and who have lived in the UK for at least 7 years prior to the first day of the first academic year of their course; or are
  • aged 18 years and above who have either spent at least half their life in the UK or at least 20 years in the UK prior to the first day of the first academic year of their course.

These changes will allow some of the most disadvantaged people in the UK to overcome the financial barriers which are currently prohibiting them from accessing higher education.

Congratulations to the international students’ campaign who have been working on increasing access to higher education for refugees & asylum seekers a number of years. If you are interested in campaigning on issues related to this, contact your International Students’ Officer at Mostafa.Rajaai@nus.org.uk.

 

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