12 July 2012

million+ welcomes changes to government’s further education loans scheme

The university think-tank million+ has welcomed the announcement by John Hayes MP, Minister for Skills and Lifelong Learning today (12 July) that students studying for Access to Higher Education qualifications will have their further education (FE) loans written off once they complete higher education (HE) studies. This follows the Government proposals to withdraw all funding from adults aged 24+ who study for a Level 3 qualification, and replace these with the option of a further education loan to pay full fees upfront. million+ has previously argued that mature students, unlike their younger counterparts, would face a double whammy of having to take out both FE and HE loans if they wanted to study for a degree in later life.

Professor Patrick McGhee, Chair of the university think-tank million+ and Vice-Chancellor of the University of East London said: “The importance that Ministers have attached to Access to HE qualifications is clearly welcome. But it would have been better if funding for all Level 3 qualifications had been continued, given the impacts these changes are likely to have on mature students’ participation in FE courses.

“The operation of any loan forgiveness schemes increases the complexity for students. This is why we have written today to the Minister seeking assurances about the circumstances under which students will have their FE loans written-off. It is urgent that MPs also have answers to these questions. The Government intends to table regulations which will come into force on 1 September. With the exception of a short debate on the last day when the House of Commons is sitting this session, there will be no opportunity for MPs to consider these proposals. These proposals and the operation of any loan forgiveness scheme is an important issue for students who have ambitions to improve their qualifications and career chances later in life.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

  1. million+ is a leading university think-tank, working to solve the complex problems in higher education www.millionplus.ac.uk. For more information please contact Drew Lindon on 0207 717 1655 or 07900 277819.
  2. million+ has written to John Hayes MP, Minister for Skills and Lifelong Learning to clarify elements of the loan forgiveness scheme. This includes questions on which HE qualifications would be included in the loan forgiveness scheme; whether a write-off will include the interest accrued on the loan; and how repayments will function if students undertake either their Access to HE, or their HE qualifications part-time rather than full-time.