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‘Too generous’ middle-class student loans should be scrapped, say universities By Sarah Harris and Laura Clark Mail

5 March 2010 3,228 views No Comment

uniMiddle-class measures: The changes could add £1,000 a year to the cost of a degree course (posed by model) Top universities are calling for middle-class students to be stripped of subsidised loans in a move that could add more than £1,000 a year to the cost of a degree course. They believe the current student support system is far too generous and needs to focus on the poorest. Cambridge and University College London are the latest to join Oxford University’s demands for wealthier students to lose out on taxpayer-funded loans. They have been backed by the 1994 Group, which represents universities including Durham, St Andrews, Exeter, Leicester and Lancaster. Nottingham, a member of the elite Russell Group, has also demanded a clampdown on grants for middle-class students. The universities have submitted evidence to the Government’s review of higher education funding by former BP boss Lord Browne. Although the institutions have not specified a parental income at which support should be stopped, experts have predicted that it could be as little as £25,000 a year. Students starting university later this year will all be entitled to a subsidised state loan for the £3,290 annual tuition fee. They are also entitled to a maintenance loan to help pay for living costs. Those from families earning less than £50,000 also qualify for a maintenance grant, which is not repayable. The total bill to the taxpayer is £2.7billion a year. Middle-class families could end up paying up to £1,000 extra a year if they were forced to pay commercial rates on student loans.

Margaret Morrissey, of the pressure group ParentsOutloud.com , claimed that middle-class parents are being discriminated against. She said: ‘We have to realise that if they give up and stop earning and putting the money into the economy, there’s going to be no money for anyone and then we’re in real trouble.’

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