Student living standards rise, claims government

Student living standards have risen by 15% over the last four years, according to figures released to day by the government.

The Student Income and Expenditure Survey also shows that many students are personally contributing to the upfront tuition fee despite the fact that their parents have been assessed as capable of paying. This means that many parents and students will benefit from the proposed abolition of upfront fees from 2006, the government claimed.

Higher education Minister Alan Johnson said the survey "proves that the government is right to abolish upfront fees".

"Too many students are having to find over £700 in upfront fees each year because their parents are not paying the assessed contribution themselves. This means that getting rid of upfront fees in 2006 will make the system fairer for middle income students as well as their parents," he said.

The survey of students' income and expenditure patterns found that the average expected debt is currently around £8,666.

"This suggests that talk of average student debt currently being over £10,000 is excessive and talk of £33,000 debt by 2010 is absolute nonsense," said Mr Johnson.

He also said that the student loan continues to do what it is intended to do - to meet basic living costs.

"However, we will analyse the survey's findings carefully as part of our spending review process to make sure the student loan is effectively covering different categories of student."


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