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Student Loans

Volume 410: debated on Monday 18 August 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans he has to assist Moslem students with finance, in the event of the student not wishing on religious grounds to take a loan requiring repayment of interest; and if he will make a statement. [129321]

The Government are committed to widening access to higher education. We are naturally concerned that some Muslim students from low income families may be missing out on the benefits of higher education because they may not wish to take out a student loan on religious grounds. Student loans are not commercial loans. To make sure that all borrowers pay back the same amount that they borrowed in real terms, the Government uprate the value of what is owed in line with the general rate of inflation.My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Skills met representatives from the Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS) on 8 July to discuss their concerns, and senior officials from my Department will hold further discussions with FOSIS representatives in the near future.