Exclusive: Ucas warns against scrapping student loans for low grade pupils

According to TES, withdrawing access to student loans for pupils who fail to achieve three Ds at A level would stifle opportunity for the disadvantaged, Ucas has warned.

Clare Marchant, chief executive of the universities admissions service told Tes that the idea – which is reportedly being considered by a government-commissioned review of higher education (HE) – would be a “real shame” and “cut off” opportunity”.

Ms Marchant also questioned another reported finding of the forthcoming Augar HE review – that tuition fees should be cut from £9250 a year to between £6,500 and £7,500. She argues that tackling the cost of living would more effectively widen access to university than cutting tuition fees – a recommendation which the review is also expected to make. 

The idea of curbing access to loans for those with less than three Ds – which it is estimated could impact 20,000 pupils – has been criticised by universities, as has a cut to tuition fees if this is not replaced by like for like Treasury funding.

Ms Marchant also suggested that reducing tuition fees would not be the best way of encouraging more young people from poorer backgrounds to go to university. 

She said Ucas had fed its survey data into the Augar review “about the cost of living deterring students potentially who come from disadvantaged backgrounds”.  

Read more Exclusive: Ucas warns against scrapping student loans for low grade pupils

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