Welfare to Work

John Hayes to the rescue: £50 million to help mature students with extra costs

John Hayes to the rescue: £50 million to help mature students with extra costs

A new £50 million fund to support mature students with learning difficulties or disabilities, parents who need help with childcare, and ex-military personnel has been announced by Business Secretary Vince Cable and Skills Minister John Hayes.

The bursary scheme will support mature students to get the skills and qualifications they need in further education, by helping to meet costs such as childcare, travel, books and equipment.

The fund is one element of a package of support for people who take out 24+ Advanced Learning Loans from next year.

The package of support also includes:

  • Allowing those taking Access to Higher Education Diploma courses to apply to the Student Loans Company to write off any outstanding 24+ Advanced Learning Loan on completion of their HE course.
  • Additional information, advice and guidance for adults who are unsure about taking out a loan, provided by the National Careers Service including a targeted face to face session with a careers adviser for older adults.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

“I strongly believe in the importance of adult learning. We recognise that some people face financial barriers which is why we are introducing this fund and extra support.

“There are many people who discover an appetite and aptitude for study later on in life and want to pursue a university degree. These measures will support access to HE students who will not incur the cost of two loans to achieve a degree.”

Skills Minister John Hayes said:

“Learning should drive social purpose and serve the common good. Through gaining and using skills, individuals obtain a stronger sense of pride in their own achievements. People with such esteem nourish a healthy society.

“That is why I am determined that further education and the benefits it engenders, should be available for all, not the privileged few.

“Investing in the substantial package of measures announced today is evidence of the Government’s commitment to ensuring everyone, no matter what their age or background, can pursue their chosen path in life.”

24+ Advanced Learning Loans will be introduced for students starting in September 2013 and will operate on the same basis as Higher Education student loans, with repayment starting after the course is finished and the individual is earning above £21,000. Regulations which allow these loans to be introduced will be laid in Parliament today.

See AELP’s response

1 Comment

  1. This is what David Hughes, the CEO of the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education had to say:

    “NIACE is relieved that Ministers and officials now recognise, publicly, that the loans policy involves real risks. This is new territory for further education which creates uncertainty and it is being introduced at a time of unprecedented economic turbulence. We therefore congratulate the Government for listening to representations in parliament and from across the sector. The Minister listened carefully to our concerns and discussed possible solutions with us. From that the Government has come up with a welcome range of mitigating actions and NIACE will work closely with Government to ensure that any unexpected and unfair outcomes are minimised.”

    “We will continue to monitor how this works with the hope that our remaining concerns do not materialise. Where they do, I am confident that the Minister will want to discuss further actions to ensure that this policy is a fair one in practice. We need to do everything we can to make sure that learners do not miss out on the opportunity to participate in learning and benefit from it.”

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