In 2015, the Government introduced further changes to the student finance offer. These are summarised below.
For parents and carers
Changes to student finance in 2015
The Government announced that students starting university in 2016 or after will get a larger maintenance loan instead of a maintenance grant.
The great news is that this gives students more money to support themselves at university, but will mean they have a bigger loan to repay afterwards. But repayments are based on your future income, not on how much you owe, so this won't mean higher monthly repayments after graduation.
Autumn Statement 2015
Student loan repayment
- The student loan repayment threshold of £21,000 for Plan 2 borrowers (from 2012 onwards) will be frozen until April 2021.
- The inflation rate applied to student loans will be revised to RPI + 0.7%. This brings it into line with the government’s long-term cost of borrowing.
- The government will reform the funding system for health students by replacing grants with student loans. This will mean access to 25% more financial support for health students during their studies.
- This affects courses that lead to professional registration in: nursing (child, mental health, adult, learning disability), midwifery, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, podiatry, radiography, dietetics, orthoptics, operating department practice, and prosthetics/orthotics. It may also affect paramedic courses currently funded through NHS grants but this is unclear at the moment.* (Council of Deans, 2015, *please note that this is not yet officially confirmed information).
- The cap on the number of student places for nursing, midwifery and allied health subjects will be lifted, enabling up to 10,000 additional nursing and health professional training places this Parliament.
- From 2017/18 institutions offering high quality teaching will be allowed to increase tuition fees in line with inflation – the government will consult on how this will be done. (Student Loans Company, 2015)
- The age cap on new loans to postgraduates will be lifted from 2016-17 so they are available to all those under 60. The repayment rate will reduce from 9% to 6% on income over £21,000.
- People will be able to access to retrain in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and accessing tuition fee loans for a second degree in these subjects from 2017-18.
Loans are now available for a second degree in STEM subjects
- The government will introduce new part-time maintenance loans from 2018-19 to support the cost of living while studying.
- Further education tuition fee loans will be extended to include those aged 19-23 studying for a level 3 or 4 qualification, and for those aged 19 and over studying for a level 5 or 6 qualification.
- The government will create 5 National Colleges and will support a new network of Institutes of Technology across the country. National Colleges will train an estimated 21,000 students by 2020.
Miscellaneous facts & figures
- The removal of the student numbers cap will enable English universities to plan to recruit 130,000 more domestic and EU students, expanding the opportunity of a degree and increasing income by £1.3 billion by 2020.
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