Russell Group response to DfE announcement on maintenance loans

11 January 2023

In response to the DfE announcement that 2023/24 student maintenance loans will be increased by 2.8%, alongside an extra £15m of hardship funding for 2022/23, Dr Tim Bradshaw, Chief Executive of the Russell Group, said:

"It is disappointing that the DfE has failed to deliver a meaningful increase to maintenance loans or take the opportunity to address some of the flaws in the forecasting process to ensure they keep up with rising costs, despite warnings that students would be left £1500 worse off next year. Reversing the real terms cut in the value of the loan since 2020/21 would be a simple fix that would provide much needed immediate support for living costs and would be paid back by the student. 

"Our members are stepping up support where they can, including investing millions in additional hardship funding, and the extra £15m to support this is welcome. However, additional Government assistance is urgently needed to address the growing financial pressures on students. Without it, we are concerned this will have an increasing impact on students’ studies and wider mental health and wellbeing."

 

Notes

  • On 9 January 2023 the Russell Group warned that students stand to lose out on £1500 a year as maintenance loans fail to keep up with inflation.
  • With a 2.8% uplift, the maintenance loan amount for a full-time student living away from home outside London will be £9,978 in 2023/24, which is £1,523 short of the £11,501 the loan would be had it increased by actual inflation (RPIX) since 2020/21. Instead, in each year since 2020/21 the projected figure used to uprate the maintenance loan was lower than the actual inflation figure, effectively ‘baking in’ a real terms cut.
  • The lower parental earnings threshold – below which students are eligible for the maximum level of maintenance support – has been frozen in nominal terms at £25,000 since 2008, even as average earnings have risen significantly. In December the IFS reported that had the parental threshold increased with earnings this would be closer to £35,000.