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Students: Loans

Volume 472: debated on Wednesday 27 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what discussions he has had with the Student Loans Company on the comprehensibility of the bursary consent statement on the PN1 student finance application form. (188040)

The Student Loans Company (SLC) is responsible for producing the student loans application forms and guidance. In previous years, the application form has proactively sought the student's consent to share financial information with their HE institution. The SLC share this information with HE Institutions registered with the Higher Education Bursary Scholarship System, so that entitlement to a bursary can be assessed. The Office for Fair Access monitoring shows 12,000 students on full state support have declined to give consent so failing to collect their bursaries, DIUS ministers and officials have therefore worked closely with the SLC to improve the bursary consent arrangements on the 2008-09 student finance application form The introduction of an opt-out clause, giving both the student and their sponsor an opportunity to opt out of consenting for their personal information to be shared with universities for bursary purposes, should increase the numbers of students assessed for and receiving bursaries. Clear guidance states that a decision to opt out of sharing data with universities does not affect entitlement to other forms of student support.