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Student Loans

Volume 451: debated on Wednesday 1 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what appeals process is available to parents in relation to income assessments made by the Student Loans Company. (98501)

If the parents or the student wish to appeal against the financial notification letter received from the SLC, they would normally be required to write to their local authority (LA) asking that their application be re-assessed. Similarly they would approach the LA if they wished for an explanation as to how the entitlement was reached. Where necessary LAs’ formal appeals arrangements can be called upon.

However, the London borough of Brent is one of 11 LAs taking part in a pilot being run by the Student Loans Company to test out different arrangements for the delivery of student finance. The pilot unit based in Darlington is dealing with all aspects of student finance applications which would previously have been dealt with by the London borough of Brent. If a parent or student in this case was dissatisfied, they would need to approach the application processing unit in Darlington asking that the application either be re-assessed or for an explanation regarding the entitlement.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what guidance he has issued to the Student Loans Company on the consideration of a parent’s number of dependents when calculating parental contribution to their child’s tuition fees. (98502)

For students starting in 2006/07, a loan is available to meet the full cost of tuition fees. This loan is not means-tested, so there is no parental contribution required. For students starting in 2005/06, and earlier, £1,050 of income for each child who is wholly or mainly dependent on the parent is disregarded in the income assessment for the grant for fees. This disregard also applies where a child is wholly or mainly financially dependent on the spouse/civil partner or co-habiting partner of the natural/adoptive parent. The child does not have to reside in the household that is being assessed.

The £1,050 disregard is also applied to the income assessment for students starting in or before 2006/07 when considering entitlement to HE or maintenance grants as appropriate and maintenance loans.

This is set out in the Student Support Regulations 2006 (as amended) at paragraph 3(3) and schedule 4. The Department’s guidance to local authorities can be found at the following web address: