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University Grants

Volume 450: debated on Thursday 19 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what estimate he has made of the average amount of state funding given to students from low-income families during a three-year degree course in each of the last five years. (93675)

The new student support system for students domiciled in England provides extra help for students from low income families, particularly through a mean-tested maintenance grant of up to £2,700. In 2006/07, students with household earnings of £17,500 or less would be entitled to the maximum amount of support.

The table shows the maximum amount of support available annually to new English students entering higher education in each of the last five years. All institutions of higher education also offer a range of bursaries, which are designed to support participation by students from low income families. In 2006/07, all students receiving the maximum maintenance grant will also receive a minimum bursary of £300 per year.


Academic year1

Fee remission grant

Tuition fee loan

Maintenance loan2

Maintenance grant3,4


























1 In 2002/03 students whose household income was less than £20,480 would receive the full means-tested support available; this value was £20,970 in 2003/04. In 2004/05 following the introduction of the HE grant, students would receive full means-tested support if their household income was £15,200 or less. This rose to £15,580 in 2005/06 and £17,500 in 2006/07. 2 Value of loan is based on the rate of loan paid to students studying outside London, and living away from their parents’ home. 3 The higher education grant was introduced in 2004/05 to help students from lower income backgrounds with the cost of HE. In 2006/07, a new maintenance grant of up to £2,700 was introduced. 4 Data do not include numbers receiving supplementary grants and allowances eg students with disabilities, students with dependents, single parent students, those incurring certain travel costs and those who have recently left care. 5 In 2006/07, students can receive a tuition fee loan to cover the cost of their course fees. 6 The amount of tuition fee loan available is equivalent to the tuition fees charged, up to a maximum of £3,000. 7 The maximum rate of loan is £4,405. This is reduced pro rata for the first £1,200 of the maintenance grant received.

The Student Income and Expenditure Survey is a regular study on students' income, expenditure, borrowing and debt. The most recent survey, carried out in 2004/05, shows that for full time, English domiciled dependent students who are in receipt of a higher education grant and hence have a household income of £15,200 or less, the mean level of student support received was £5,925. For students from high income families, who are those deemed to be paying full tuition fees ie whose household income is £31,973 or more, the mean level of student support received was £2,577. Both figures include student loans, the higher education grant, fee remission grants as well as supplementary grants and allowances for students in particular circumstances. They represent the average level of support for one year, not the duration of the course. The next survey is planned for the 2007/08 academic year.

In addition to the financial support given directly to students, the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s allocation of teaching grant, paid to support teaching and learning, equates to an average £3,820 per student in HE.