I'm sure you're all aware that the government announced plans to scrap maintenance grants in favour of a maintenance loan last week. This is a decision I am very concerned by. The prospect of leaving University with an even larger debt than present will inevitably put off a number of potential students, particularly from lower income families. It is of utmost importance that higher education remains accessible to all people from all backgrounds. As a result, I have been in touch with Koen Lamberts, the vice-chancellor, to ensure York remains committed to accessible education. The University has released this statement:
"The University of York noted the proposal in the budget speech to replace maintenance grants with loans for all home undergraduate students. York has long welcomed the most able students regardless of socio-economic background. Over the last four years, the percentage of applicants from the lowest socio-economic groups has grown; we will work hard to make sure that this trend continues, and that students from those groups are properly supported during their time at York."
This is reassuring from the University. I will be raising the issue of accessible higher education in meetings with University Senior Management in the coming weeks to ensure this commitment is followed through. Will keep you all updated!