Cambridge to provide grants to poorer students
St. John’s College, Cambridge have decided to replace the scrapped maintenance grants with their own ‘studentship’ grant of £9,750 per year.
In response to maintenance grants being scrapped (info here) from September 2016 onwards, St John’s College, Cambridge will be offering their own grant to disadvantaged students to help with day-to-day living costs at the university.
In what they’re calling a ‘studentship’ grant scheme, St. John’s will be offering £9,750 to students from households with a combined income of £25,000 or less.
The funds, which will come entirely from donations from the university’s own alumni, are expected to add up to around £145,680 in the 2016/17 academic year.
The scheme will first run on a five year trial basis, and if it goes well, will become a permanent feature at the university.
A word from St. John's…
Credit: Timo Newton-Syms – Flickr
Dr Matthias Dörrzapf, a Senior Lecturer at St John's, has said:
We believe that a student who is capable of making the most of a place at the university should be able to benefit from a complete educational experience regardless of their financial circumstances… We are taking a step towards meeting our longer-term ambition to guarantee that every student capable of studying here is able to do so and fully supported from start to finish.
If only the government saw it the same way, Dr. Dörrzapf!
What’s happened to the maintenance grants?
Last year, chancellor George Osborne announced in his yearly budget that the government would be scrapping student maintenance grants on the grounds that it was unfair to expect taxpayers to pay out for living expenses of students who were likely to be earning more than them once graduating.
He claimed there was a:
Basic unfairness in asking taxpayers to fund grants for people who are likely to earn a lot more than them.
However, with a recent study showing just how bad social mobility currently is in the UK, it seems more likely that this is just an excuse the government is using to stop dishing out grants to students.
What's the situation now?
Good old Chancellor George has confirmed that from September this year, students will receive up to £8,200 in the form of a loan that must be paid back in installments alongside tuition fees when a student starts earning £21,000 a year and above.
Note that this only applies to full-time students who are starting their degree in the 2016/17 AY. If you are a current student who already receives a maintenance grant, you'll continue getting it until you graduate.
Want to know more about what you're entitled to in terms of maintenance loan? Find out everything you need to know in our big fat guide to student finance.