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Increase Student Loans in England to catch up with inflation

Submitted by Thomas Allingham on Friday 27th October 2023

Published on Wednesday 8th November 2023

Current status: Open

Open until: Wednesday 8th May 2024

Current Signatures: 13,452
(count is updated approximately hourly)

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Petition Action

Increase Student Loans in England to catch up with inflation

Petition Details

Over the past 2 years (Sept ‘21–‘23), inflation (RPIX) has been 21%. But max Student Loans in England rose by just 5.2%, leaving students up to £1,500/year worse off (real terms). The government must increase loans to catch up with inflation, or we fear many students won’t be able to survive at uni.

Additional Information

We can all agree that students should have enough money to eat.

But at Save the Student, our 2023 Money Survey found that, on average, living costs now exceed loans by £582/month.

And despite other parts of the UK increasing loans by between 9.4% – 40% this year to help students with living costs, loans in England rose by just 2.8%.

As a result, 18% of students we surveyed told us they used a food bank in 2022/23, and 64% said they skipped meals at least some of the time.

Loans simply must catch up with inflation to avoid further suffering.


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Government Response

The Government responded to this petition on Friday 26th January 2024

The Government has continued to increase loans for living costs each year with a 2.8% increase for the current academic year, 2023/24, and a further 2.5% uplift announced for 2024/25.

The Government has increased loans for living costs each year for students in England, with a 2.8% increase for the current academic year, 2023/24, and a further 2.5% increase announced for 2024/25. Decisions on student finance have had to be taken to ensure the system remains financially sustainable and the costs of higher education are shared fairly between students and taxpayers, not all of whom have benefited from going to university.

The Government has frozen maximum tuition fees and the subsidised fee loans paid up-front on behalf of students for the 2023/24 and 2024/25 academic years to deliver better value for students and to keep the cost of higher education under control. By 2024/25, maximum fees will have been frozen for seven years.

The Devolved Governments have responsibility for higher education in their respective countries and determine the student finance arrangements and their sustainability for their students.

The partially means-tested loan for living costs is a contribution towards a student’s living costs while attending university with the highest levels of support paid to students from the lowest income families who need it most. Financial support may be provided by the student’s parents or in the case of independent students, their partner, but there are several other sources of funding available for students such as university bursaries and scholarships and Local Authority support such as the higher education bursary. In addition, students can earn income from part-time work while studying and this is not taken into account when their entitlement to loans is assessed.

Students awarded a loan for living costs for the 2023/24 academic year that is lower than the maximum, and whose household income has dropped by at least 15% compared to the income provided for their original assessment can apply for their entitlement to be reassessed.

The Government recognises the additional cost-of-living pressures that have arisen this year and that are impacting students. We have already made £276 million of student premium and mental health funding available for the 2023/24 academic year to support successful outcomes for students including disadvantaged students.

We are now making a further £10 million of one-off support available to support student mental health and hardship funding. This funding will complement the help universities are providing through their own bursary, scholarship and hardship support schemes.

Over the 2022-23 to 2024-25 financial years, the Government is providing support worth £104 billion, or £3,700 per household on average, to help families throughout the UK with the cost of living, including help to meet increased household energy costs. This will have eased the pressure on family budgets and so will in turn enabled many families to provide additional support to their children in higher education to help them meet increased living costs.

At the Autumn Statement, the Chancellor announced further action to help families, including increasing the Local Housing Allowance rate to the 30th percentile of local market rents in April 2024 for 1.6 million households.

In response to the energy crisis, the Government provided one of the largest support packages in Europe. This included the Energy Price Guarantee (EPG) which provided support with energy costs from October 2022 until the end of June 2023.

Students in private rented accommodation who are provided energy through a commercial entity may also benefit from the Energy Bills Discount Scheme (EBDS) which provides a baseline discount on energy bills for non-domestic users locked into high fixed price tariffs. Any non-domestic user who benefits from the EBDS must ensure the benefit is passed through to the end user, such as students in private rented accommodation.

We are investing hundreds of millions of pounds additional funding over the three-year period from 2022-23 to 2024-25 to support high quality teaching and facilities including in science and engineering, subjects that support the NHS, and degree apprenticeships. This includes the largest increase in government funding for the HE Sector to support students and teaching in over a decade.

Degree apprenticeships are another route to achieving a degree, while earning a competitive salary and without incurring tuition fees. They combine the best of academic learning at some of our best universities with on-the-job training at prestigious employers. Degree apprenticeships have grown from 22,480 starts in 2018/19 to 46,730 in 2022/23. To make sure even more apprentices and employers can benefit, we are investing £40m over the next two years to support providers to expand the range of degree apprenticeships available and improve equality of opportunity.

Department for Education

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