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Prisoners: Loans

Volume 502: debated on Wednesday 16 December 2009

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills how many prisoners received (a) a student loan and (b) a maintenance grant in each of the last 12 years; and how many of them (i) are in arrears on repayments and (ii) have made no repayment in the last 12 months. (303757)

In his written statement on 7 February 2008, Official Report, columns 85-86WS, on the Education (Student Support) Regulations, the Secretary of State announced that he was amending the student support regulations to disallow prisoners who were also full-time students from receiving financial support for maintenance, thereby removing the long-standing provision which had allowed prisoners to claim such support. Maintenance support for any student who has spent part of a year in prison is reduced pro-rata. Some prisoners, typically those allowed daily release on temporary licence to attend a higher education course, are eligible to receive a loan for tuition fees only.

Prisoners receiving student loans and grants1

of which:

Academic year

Number receiving a maintenance grant, maintenance loan or tuition fee loan

Receiving a maintenance loan

Receiving a grant2

Receiving a tuition fee loan

1998/99

1999/2000

10

10

2000/01

5

5

2001/02

10

10

2002/03

20

20

2003/04

15

15

2004/05

25

20

10

2005/06

35

30

25

2006/07

45

45

40

25

2007/08

40

40

35

25

2008/09

5

5

‘—’ = Nil or less than 3

1 The figures reflect the number of prisoners in each year who received a payment. Prisoners may have received payments in more than one year. Figures rounded to nearest five.

2 Mostly maintenance grant or higher education grant, but may also include targeted support allowances.

Source:

Student Loans Company

Repayments of income contingent loans, introduced in 1998, are usually collected through the tax system. Borrowers cannot get into arrears (unless they move overseas and do not repay according to the calculated repayment schedule)

Borrowers become liable to repay their student loans in the April after they leave their course (the statutory repayment due date, SRDD). After that date those with earnings of over £15,000 per year will repay, usually by deductions from salary. Those past SRDD and earning less than £15,000 are not required to repay. In the tax year 2007/08 there were 65 borrowers past SRDD who had received loans when in prison. 10 of these made a repayment during the tax year.