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Student Grants And Benefits

Volume 934: debated on Tuesday 28 June 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she will review the operation of the Education Act 1944 in relation to the eligibility of mature students for various local authority grants and benefits.

Local education authorities make grants to students under the Education Act 1962, as amended. On 28th March my right hon. Friend announced a number of changes for the academic year 1977–78 which included some improvements for mature students. She also said that the structure of student support would be reviewed again as soon as circumstances permit.

Does not my hon. Friend agree that mature students, given the present level of grants, find it difficult, if not impossible, to take advantage of further education? Will he confirm that in Liverpool mature students are disallowed or debarred from taking advantage of rent rebate schemes, which adds to their problems?

On the level of grants and their availability, my right hon. Friend has asked for a survey to see which authorities are making discretionary grants at present. Normally the level of these would be the same as that of the mandatory grants. With regard to the Liverpool housing authority, I am not aware of the situation which my hon. Friend has mentioned. If he will write to me, I will look into the matter.