What does the Green Paper mean for Student Financial Support?

Dear Colleagues,

Many of you will have noticed in the news the Governments Green Paper and discussions on what impact these reforms will have on the Higher Education Sector in the UK. We are all particularly interested to know how we can support and advise students through such changes.

What follows is a snapshot of the 6 key areas you should be aware of to support and advise students from 2016-17.

  • Postgraduate students under the age of 60 and studying taught and research masters degrees at a minimum of 50% intensity (including by distance learning) will be able to get £10,000 tuition fee loans from 2016/17. Repayment will be due when a graduate is earning a salary of £21,000 or more, and will be at a rate of 6% of income above that threshold limit.
  • For all STEM subjects, tuition fee loans will be extended to students wishing to do a second degree from 2017/18 (as it stands student’s cannot study 2 degrees and receive funding)
  • Part-time students will be able to get maintenance loans from 2018/19 to support the cost of living while studying. The government estimates that this will extend loans to around 150,000 additional students in the UK.
  • New student nurses will be able to get loans instead of NHS grants, and the cap on the number of student nurses will be removed. It’s not clear when this will happen, but the statement says “This reform will enable universities to provide up to 10,000 additional nursing and other health professional training places this Parliament.”
  • The student loan repayment threshold for Plan 2 borrowers (those studying under the 2012 / £9,000 regime) will be frozen until April 2021. The discount rate applied to student loans will be revised to 0.7% above RPI (Retail Price Index). Martin Lewis will discuss this in his weekly money show, ITV Monday 14 December 8pm.
  • For international students, the government is dropping proposals to remove the right of dependents to work and to introduce more stringent English language testing.

If you would like further information on any of the points in this blog, please do contact me and I’ll be happy to talk you through the changes.