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HE overview Thursday, 6 February, 2003, 18:57 GMT
Student grant threshold to rise
An increase in the limit would be welcomed by students
Students whose families have more than 10,000 a year could still qualify for the maximum maintenance grant next year.

Previously, the government had said only students whose families had less than that amount per year would get the full maintenance grant of 1,000 a year.

But in a written answer to the House of Commons, Education Secretary Charles Clarke said the government "might be able to afford" to raise the threshold.

There had been criticism of the planned limit of 10,000 in family income by commentators who said too few people would qualify.

The government had said it believed 30% of students would be eligible for the full 1,000 of the means-tested grant.

But it is thought the government realised this promise would not be met unless the family earnings limit was raised.

Up-to-date data

In his written answer, Mr Clarke said that since the plans to reform higher education funding were announced last month, the government had got "more up-to-date data", which showed he might be able to afford to raise the threshold.

He said the data was still being checked and that there would be a further announcement.

This latest climb-down is another crucial victory in our campaign to get the grant back to a decent level

Mandy Telford, NUS President
"I have since received more up-to-date data which indicates that within the 30% of students to be supported, we may be able to afford to raise the threshold for the full grant higher than the proposed 10,000," he said.

Officials at the Department for Education and Skills said the threshold was not being raised to enable more than 30% of students to qualify for the full grant.

The National Union of Students (NUS) had complained about the level at which the threshold was being set.

NUS President Mandy Telford said: "We have always maintained the threshold is far too low and the grant too small to make any impact on student hardship."

"This latest climb-down from the government is another crucial victory in our campaign to get the grant back to a decent level for those students who really need it."

See also:

04 Feb 03 | Education
27 Jan 03 | Higher education
23 Jan 03 | Education
29 Jan 03 | Higher education
22 Jan 03 | HE reaction
22 Jan 03 | HE reaction
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