As of today, poorer students will no longer receive maintenance grants
The NUS have called the move to loans ‘disgraceful’
Today marks the first day on which English students will no longer be able to apply for grants from Student Finance.
The changes, announced last year by George Osborne, mean that students from families with annual incomes of £25,000 or less who used to receive a full grant of £3,387 per year can now only get that money as a loan.
The changes have been met with negative reactions from students from poorer backgrounds, who stand to graduate from university with more debt than they would normally.
The vice-president of the NUS, Sorana Vieru, has described the change as “disgraceful”, and saying that it: “punishes poorer students simply for being poor, so they have to take a bigger loan than those students from privileged backgrounds.
“It could put off students from underprivileged backgrounds from applying, who might not understand how the loan system works, or are very debt-averse.
“We also know that mature students are way more debt-averse than younger students and BME students perceive student debt on a par with commercial debt.”
Osborne had defended the change upon announcing it, saying at the time that there was a “basic unfairness in asking taxpayers to fund grants for people who are likely to earn a lot more than them.”