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Students: Grants

Volume 504: debated on Friday 29 January 2010

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what estimate his Department has made of the average delay in processing of student grant applications for academic year 2009-10; how many students have yet to receive their grant; how many students have withdrawn from their course as a result of not receiving their grant; and if he will make a statement. (313102)

[holding answer 25 January 2010]: I refer the hon. Member to my written ministerial statement to the House on 8 December 2009, Official Report, column 12WS. The report and statement can be found at the following URL:

http://www.bis.gov.uk/hopkin

I am advised that the Student Loans Company holds data only on average processing times for applications where the applicant has supplied all supporting information and evidence. For the application cycle academic year 2009/10 to date, average processing times for fully documented means-tested applications have been within SLC's published service standards of 30 days for paper applications and 20 days for online applications.

Data on numbers of applications processed, paid and still to be paid are available on the SLC website at:

http://www.slc.co.uk/statistics/facts%20and%20%20figures/index.html

The Department has not made an estimate of numbers of students who have withdrawn from a course in 2009/10 academic year due to delays in receiving student finance.

Many students whose means tested applications could not be processed before the start of term, for example because of incomplete evidence, were given provisional non means-tested maintenance awards and confirmation that their tuition fees would be paid.

Students whose application for student support was not approved by the start of term would have been able to apply for help through the Access to Learning Fund, which is provided by the Government and administered by higher education institutions, and can provide assistance to students in financial hardship.