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UK introduces a financial package to address rising costs

UK’s Department for Education has announced the provision of additional GBP 15 million (around EUR 17 million) funding to help students struggling raising with living costs. This will come on top of the GBP 261 million (around EUR 297 million) that was already provided to the Office for Students (OfS) for the 2022/23 academic year which universities can draw upon to boost their own hardship funds.

The boost funding will be available only to the fee-cap registered institutions, and not all providers approved by the OfS, leading to criticism. Furthermore, Chloe Field, the vice-president of  the National Union of Students has called for more measures, such as a rent freeze, describing the current approach as “a quick fix to a long-term problem which has come to a head in the cost of living crisis” in a statement for The PIE news.

The UK government has also confirmed that it will freeze tuition fees for a standard full-time course in the 2023/24 and 2024/25 academic year in England at a maximum of GBP 9,250 (around EUR 10.500) and cap the interest rates for some of the loans.

As explained by Robert Halfon, The Minister of State for Skills, Apprenticeships, and Higher Education, “maximum undergraduate loans for living costs will be increased by forecast inflation, 2.8%, in 2023/24. And the same increase will apply to the maximum disabled students’ allowance for students with disabilities undertaking full-time and part-time undergraduate courses in 2023/24. Maximum grants for students with child or adult dependants who are attending full-time undergraduate courses will also increase by 2.8% in 2023/24.” In addition, “maximum loans for students starting master’s degree and doctoral degree courses from 1 August 2023 onwards will be increased by 2.8% in 2023/24. And the same increase will apply to the maximum disabled students’ allowance for postgraduate students with disabilities in 2023/24.”

More information is available on the UK government’s website.