The Socialist Education Association (SEA) has called on the government to support university students during the lockdown by writing-off fee and maintenance loans in 2020/21 and by immediately paying a grant to help with rent and living costs.
James Whiting, General Secretary of the SEA said ‘On 5 January the Prime Minister recognised that the government would have to look at the accommodation costs of students as a result of the lockdown.
The majority of students do not live-in university halls of residence but have rental contracts for accommodation run by private landlords who have not reduced rents during the pandemic.
Boris Johnson must now live up to his promise and agree the immediate payment of a grant for all students to help with living and rent costs.
Ministers should also recognise that students have had a very different experience because of COVID-19 and forgive fee and maintenance loans taken out in 2020/21.
This makes both economic and common sense since government data indicates that 53p in every pound that students have borrowed in 20/21 will be written-off at the end of the 30-year repayment period.
Rather than waiting 30 years, Ministers should bite the bullet now and write-off the fee and maintenance debts that students have incurred this year.’
Notes for Editors
1. For further information, contact James Whiting on +44 (0)7971 423814 (m) or firstname.lastname@example.org (e)
2. The Socialist Education Association is the only education organisation affiliated to the Labour Party
3. 71% of students rent accommodation run by private landlords.
4. On 5 January, Boris Johnson said that ‘there are going to be issues to do with the cost of (student) accommodation (during the lockdown) that we will have to look at as a government.’