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Category: States of Jersey

Higher Education Funding Updated

Mar 30, 2023

• Student finance maintenance grants to be calculated by sliding scales to avoid cut off points

• London students will receive additional 10% in maintenance grant 

• Care-leavers studying for HE and FE qualifications will also receive an inflationary increase to their bursary 

The Minister for Children and Education, Deputy Gardiner has confirmed further updates to the Student Finance system, which will come into effect from September 2023.

These changes have been announced in response to the increased cost of living, and the additional pressures this is placing on students and families. They mean that all students will receive either the same level of maintenance grant or – in many cases – receive more funding.

The Minister has issued Law drafting instructions and once drafting is complete, she will sign an Order to bring the changes into effect from September 2023

Sliding scale

Students who have a relevant household income of less than £90,000 are eligible for a means-tested, non-repayable maintenance grant. From September 2023, maintenance will be calculated using a sliding scale model, rather than the current ‘banded’ model.

Under the current model, the maintenance grant a student receives is based on their relevant income, which is divided into different bands. This means that students see steep drop-offs in funding when their assessed income moves from one band up to another.

For example, under the current banded model a dependent off-Island student with income of £49,999 would receive a maintenance grant of £8,572 for the 2023-24 academic year. If the student’s relevant income rose by just £1 to £50,000, their maintenance grant would drop to £6,857.

Under the new sliding scale model, this student would receive £1 less in maintenance for approximately every £6 increase in their relevant income up to the £90,000 threshold. This will remove the drop-offs in maintenance grant as income increases. 

In the example above, a student with a relevant household income of £49,999 will still receive a maintenance grant of £8,572. If their relevant household income increased to £50,000, their maintenance grant would remain at £8,572. From this point, it would gradually reduce in £1 increments down to a minimum payment of £1,715 where income reaches £89,999.

London weighting

Students who are studying in London and who are eligible for a maintenance grant will have their grant increased by 10%. 

This additional 10% is being awarded to reflect the higher cost of living in London, and is in line with student finance provision made by England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It will be reviewed every year and updated as needed. 

Academic requirements

From the 2023-2024 academic year onwards, students only need to demonstrate that they have an offer of a place on an eligible higher education course and that they have a relevant income below £200,000.

Previously, dependent students also had to prove that they had previous educational attainment in line with the requirements set out in the order, for example two A-levels to qualify for degree funding. Independent students were not required to demonstrate prior attainment.

All students will still need an offer from a Higher Education institution, which is based on the institution’s expertise in assessing students’ academic ability to undertake the course.

Increase to bursary for care leavers

The Minister has also announced her intention to increase the specific bursary for care leavers studying for a Higher Education or Further Education. This increase will reflect the increased cost of living.

Currently care-leavers apply for Student Finance as usual. In addition, as part of a package of support introduced in 2019, they also receive an additional £3000 bursary if they are studying for a higher education qualification, and an additional £900 bursary if they are studying for a further education qualification.

In line with the recent Student Finance increases, from September 2023, this will rise to £3,429 for higher education students, and to £1029 for further education students. Further details on the increases will be announced before September.

The changes will apply to all new and continuing students and will automatically be included when grants are calculated, well ahead of the new academic year. This means that students do not need to delay their application to receive the extra payment. 

Applications for Student Finance for the 2023/2024 academic year opened on 1 January and must be submitted by 31 December 2023. To date, Student Finance has received 390 HE1s and 650 HE2sforms from parents and carers. 

Minister for Children and Education, Deputy Inna Gardiner, said: “I continue to speak to parents, students and the Jersey Student Loan Support Group and appreciate the increasing cost of living is a real challenge.

“If we want an Island of highly skilled workers, we need to ensure that all students, no matter their household income, have the option of studying for a degree. We already offer generous, means-tested, non-repayable maintenance grants. But moving to a sliding scale model will mean that fewer students see a sudden drop off in their funding as their incomes rise. 

“This is especially important for Jersey students who face additional barriers, including students who have experience of being in care. I am proud to announce that we will also be increasing the support they receive through the care leavers offer to reflect the additional cost of living.

“These changes mean that from September 2023 all students will either receive the same level of grant or – in many cases – receive more. The Student Finance team will apply these changes automatically once they’ve received an application so I would urge students and parents not to wait and make sure that they have applied in good time.”

Government of Jersey News Release

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