04/02/2011

New Part-Time Student Package Supported

Details of how eligible part-time students in England will benefit from new loans for tuition from the 2012/13 academic year have been announced today by Universities and Science Minister David Willetts.

These rules introduce a level playing field for full-time and part-time study for the costs of tuition for the first time.

The loans replace the means-tested fee grant and study grant which were paid to around 60,000 students. The loans will not be means-tested, and it is expected up to 175,000 part-time students will be eligible.

Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills, said: "Part-time students have been neglected for too long. We are committed to a level playing field for part-time and full-time students. The progressive repayment system for graduates, whether they study part-time or full time, will ensure anyone with the ability and desire can afford higher education."

Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said: “The repayment terms afford protection to low-earning graduates whatever their financial circumstances when studying. That is fair and progressive.

“A better deal for part-time students has been widely supported. Employers particularly value graduates who already have experience of the workplace, which is why making part time study more accessible is one of the key goals of our higher education reforms.”

The amount of the loans will depend on the proportion of a full-time course which is studied each year. The lower limit is 25 per cent and the upper limit is 75 per cent, the same as for the fee grant now. This range will accommodate most Open University students.

Through a clause in the Education Act, currently before Parliament, the Government also plans to limit the tuition charge which higher education institutions can levy for part-time students so that it can be covered completely by the loan.

Like full-time students interest is the Retail Price Index (RPI) + 3 per cent whilst studying and will depend on income when liable to repay, varying from RPI for earnings up to £21,000 and increasing to RPI + 3 per cent for graduates earning £41,000 and over.

Part-time students will become liable to repay their loans from the April after three years of study, even if they are continuing to study. Repayments will only begin once earnings reach £21,000 at 9 per cent over this amount; if earnings are less than this amount, there are no repayments and interest accrues at RPI. If the part-time course lasts less than three years, then graduates will repay from the April after they leave higher education.

(BMcN/GK)

Related UK National News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

02 November 2011
Student Loan Company Recruits 'Lab Subjects'
Students from across the country are being recruited to take part in a unique experiment, which could shape how student finance products and services are run in the future. The Student Loans Company (SLC) has launched a nationwide search for 5,000 customers to take part in its online Student Finance Lab.
19 January 2005
Study reveals 'deep and persistent' student divide
A report by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) has found evidence that the higher education divide between advantaged and disadvantaged children is "deep and persistent". The 'Young Participation In Higher Education' report, studied the participation rates by student in every region, constituency and ward from 1994 to 2000.
02 July 2013
£3,000 Overdraft Offered With Student Bank Account
Halifax have announced they will again offer an overdraft of up to £3,000 with the student accounts for the next academic year. Last year, Halifax's overdraft was the largest offered on an account the bank says is 'designed by students for students'. It is the largest again this year of the three banks to announce their student accounts.
21 April 2005
Liberal Democrats to tackle student debt
The Liberal Democrats have promised to remove the fear of debt from university students by scrapping tuition and top-up fees and increase grants for poorer students. The party announced that a Liberal Democrat government would provide grants of up to £2,000 per year to poorer students.
16 June 2006
Graduates loans arrears rise
The latest figures from the Student Loans Company (SLC) have revealed that many students are struggling to keep up their loan repayments. SLC reported that loan arrears were outstanding on £186m made in student loans in the year 2005 to 2006. This takes the total to almost £19bn owed on loans made to students and graduates.