BIS statement on student support

01 July 2009

Director General of the Russell Group, Dr Wendy Piatt, said:

“The Russell Group welcomes figures released today which show that more young people from lower socio-economic groups are going into Higher Education - with a 3 percent rise since 2002. They have not been deterred by tuition fees.

“Academic attainment is by far and away the most important factor in whether a student will go on to higher education. When A-level grades are taken into account, students from deprived and wealthy backgrounds are equally likely to go to university. So it is not surprising that under the new system of fees, loans and grants, applications to English universities have continued to increase from students of all social backgrounds.

“Today’s announcement by BIS demonstrates the difficult decisions that have to be made during a recession but it remains vital that income from fees keeps pace with inflation. The introduction of fees has managed to halt a long-term decline in funding per student but funding for higher education in Britain is still significantly lower than in most other OECD countries. The system of student support in England remains one of the most generous - and expensive - in the world.”

Note to editors

  1. The Written Ministerial Statement on Education (Student Support) Regulations is available here: http://www.dius.gov.uk/news_and_speeches/announcements

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