Government does U-turn on cuts to maintenance loans

Students who are forced to live at home during lockdown will not be receiving lower maintenance loans, Curry reports

Alicia Curry
22nd February 2021
Featured Image: Wikipedia
The Department of Education (DfE) and the Student Loans Company (SLC) have been forced to reassess proposed lower rates for students living at home during lockdown

University students in England and Wales who to take out a maintenance loan are entitled to varying amounts based on the criteria of their living situation – specifically whether they are living at, or away from, their usual home during term time. 

In Wales, the maximum maintenance loan and grant combination is £8,335 for commuters, £9,810 for students who study away from home and £12,260 for students studying away from home in London. In England, where funding is entirely loaned, it’s £7,747 for commuter, £9,203 for students who study away from home and £12,010 for students studying away from home in London.

However, after the government announced that students wouldn’t be returning to campus following lockdown, the DfE stated: “Students who are no longer incurring accommodation costs away from home (e.g. because they have exited their contracts, or moved home permanently), or who no longer wish to receive the higher rate of loan, should request reassessment.”

Meaning that students who have been forced to continue studying at home would receive the lower rate of maintenance loan.

After criticism, the DfE and SLC have both released guidance that somewhat retracts this original claim, instead saying:

“If you’ve already been paid for that term at the higher ‘living away from home’ rate, it would usually mean you’d have been overpaid for that term. We would normally then reduce your future Maintenance Loan payments to recover the money that was overpaid.

However, the UK Government has decided that in this situation the overpayment will just be added to your overall loan balance. This will be repaid as normal once you have finished or left your course."

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