Many students and parents are understandably worried by government plans to change the student loan system.
The student loan repayment threshold was set to £21,000 for post-2012 borrowers. In the Summer Budget, which I voted against, the Government announced consultations on freezing the loan repayment threshold for five years. The consultation ran until October 14 and I hope the Government will listen to the concerns raised in that process.
The July Budget also included plans to replace student maintenance grants with loans and increase the current tuition fee cap from £9,000 in some universities.
Additionally, the Business Secretary has said that he will not rule-out increasing the repayment rate on existing student loan debt within the next few years.
I fought the last General Election on a manifesto that included plans to cut tuition fees to £6,000 and to provide additional grants for students from lower-income backgrounds.
I believe we should be doing far more, not less, to widen participation among students from low and middle income backgrounds so I am very concerned at the impact the Government’s proposals could have. I also recently met with a delegation of student officers from Liverpool to hear all of their concerns about this issue and I spoke at the recent NUS mass lobby of Parliament in support of its campaign.