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Student support for 2015-16 in the rest of the UK: announcements so far

October 23, 2014

Further to this post,  the 2015-16 rates for England were released earlier this year.   In contrast to the eccentric and relatively opaque handling of the equivalent figures in Scotland in recent years, the 2015-16 student support arrangements for England were announced in a detailed parliamentary statement.  No doubt students would always choose being spared £9,000 fees over transparency in public announcements.  It’s a shame that it seems to have to be such a stark choice between the two, however.

Grants and loans in England both saw a small rise there in 2014-15.  For next year, grants are frozen and loans see a further increase.  The announcement in March suggested loans would increase by 3.4%, but the Student Finance England calculator here now produces a slightly larger increase in loans at lower incomes of 4.8%, for those living away from home out of London.  That takes total living cost support for all students at incomes up to just over £25,000 to £7,434, an increase in total support of 3% compared to this year.     It looks therefore as though those on the higher grant rates, and less loan,  later had their loan increase boosted, to maintain the value of the total package.

If the Scottish figures are confirmed to be frozen, as the recent Scottish budget wording strongly implies,  at lower incomes total living cost support will compare as below:

Scotland

assuming frozen

England

actual 2015-16

Difference in total support
Total support given as grant Total support given as grant
Below £17,000 7500 1750 (750) 7434 3387 -1%
£17,000-£23,999 6750 1000 (0) 7434 3387 10%
£25,000 6250 500 (0) 7434 3387 19%
£30,000

£35,00

6250

4750

500 (0)

0(0)

6961

6487

2441

1494

11%

11%

(Grant figures in brackets are for mature students in Scotland. Single grant rate in England for all students.)

No announcement appears to have been made yet for Wales, which increased loans but froze grants in 2014-15, or for Northern Ireland, which froze both in 2014-15.

Loans in Scotland were increased for 2014-15 by a flat rate £250, and grants were frozen, providing a minimum increase in the value of total support of 3.4%.  If there is no change to grant or loan rates in Scotland for 2015-16, grants will have been frozen here since the cuts applied to them in 2013-14, amounting to a further real terms reduction in their value of 3.8% over the period,  according to the most recent GDP deflators. That’s around £66 for a young student on the maximum amount.

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