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Mature Students: Finance

Volume 475: debated on Thursday 1 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many and what proportion of (a) part-time and (b) mature students are in receipt of Government-funded support for the latest period for which figures are available. (195159)

The number and proportion of undergraduate students in receipt of student support is as follows (postgraduate students do not generally qualify for support):

Part-time and mature students, England, academic year 2006/07

Students

Students receiving loans, grants or allowances

Percentage receiving support

Part-time undergraduates 1

454,300

45,500

10

Full-time undergraduates aged 21 or over 2

368,800

307,700

83

1 English domiciled part-time students studying in the UK.

2 English domiciled students studying in the UK and EU domiciled students studying in institutions in England. Students receiving support includes PGCE students.

Source:

Higher Education Statistics Agency and Student Loans Company

Part-time students need to be studying at 50 per cent. of the intensity of a full-time student to apply for both a fee and course grant. This Government was the first to introduce statutory support for part-time students, in 2000/01. In 2006/07, we introduced the most generous package of financial support ever for part-time students in England. This included increasing the maximum fee grant by 27 per cent. and an above-inflation increase in the income threshold for receiving this support.

Mature full-time students are generally eligible for the same student support package as other students but maintenance loans are only available to those under 60. They can also access targeted support including the Adult Dependants’ Grant, Parents Learning Allowance, Childcare Grant and Disabled Students Allowance. Students may also qualify for a bursary from their higher education institution.

From 2008/09, we are increasing the income thresholds for the means tested maintenance grant so many more full-time students, including mature students, will receive grant support. This will mean that one third of all eligible students in England entering higher education in the academic year 2008/09 are expected to be entitled to a full non-repayable grant worth £2,835 and another one third are expected to be entitled to a partial grant.