Wednesday 08-07-2015 - 15:37
The National Union of Students (NUS) has today condemned the government’s decision to cut vital maintenance grants for students.
The Chancellor confirmed in his Budget speech that grants would be cut entirely from 2016-17. Currently students from lower income backgrounds would receive a non-repayable grant to help with cost of living.
We believe the government has gravely underestimated the impact of total maintenance grant withdrawal on the ambitions and choices of poorer students.
We estimate that combining the withdrawal of Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) with today’s decision to cut grants means an 18-year-old entering Higher Education next year will have lost around £12,500 of non-repayable support overall, compared with the same 18-year-old starting in 2010.
This is an appalling way to treat our members across Higher Education and Further Education.
Megan Dunn, NUS National President, said: 'Students living on beans and sketches about student poverty have become a punchline. But this isn’t a joke, it’s a national crisis.
'For our poorest students every day is a struggle. It is really important for them to have money in their pockets they know they are entitled to, and won’t have to pay back. It gives them the confidence they need to succeed.
'This is the second time the government has abolished non-repayable payments for students. Five years ago, poorer students would have received EMA while at college and maintenance grants while at university. Now they’re both gone, amounting to a cut of £12,500 in support overall for poorer students who go to college and then university.
'On top of this the government has missed an opportunity to really address the long-term cost of living crisis facing students today.'