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Student Awards

Volume 981: debated on Thursday 27 March 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement on student awards.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland and I have now completed a review of student awards. This has necessarily had to be conducted against the background of the difficult economic situation. Nevertheless, in addition to revaluing the parental contribution scale to take account of increases in earnings, we have been able to adjust it to relieve an extra 10,000 parents of the need to make a contribution. The starting point for contributions will be raised from a residual income of £4,700 to £5,800. There will also be some relief for parents with residual incomes slightly above this figure.The rates for 1980–81 will on average be 14·7 per cent. higher than the rate for 1979–80. This is the outcome of the assessment of the expected rise in living costs and takes into account increases in student costs since the last triennial review; but it also allows for an abatement by about five per centage points as a contribution to the Government's policy of restraining public expenditure.For undergraduates, the main rates of grant for the academic year 1980–81 will be increased as follows: from £1,485 to £1,695 for students living away from home in London; from £1,245 to £1,430 for students living away from home other than in London; and from £985 to £1,125 for students living at home. Supplementary grants will also be increased. The minimum maintenance grant will be increased from £335 to £385.Full details, including revised parental contribution scales and information about some minor improvements in the conditions of payment, will be announced shortly.