LOANS are to be made available to people aged 50 to 54 as part of the government's measures to widen participation in higher education, writes Alan Thomson.
Education secretary David Blunkett has raised the age limit from 50 to 54, but those in this age group will be eligible for loans only if they plan to return to work after graduation. The extended loans, available from autumn next year, will cost government an estimated Pounds 3 million. As with younger people, repayments will stop when earnings cease.
The loans are part of a previously announced Pounds 143 million package to increase participation. Other measures include the Pounds 250 hardship loan for students in financial difficulty and the doubling of access funds to Pounds 44 million. Grants will still be available for parent students. The Pounds 1,000 single-parent grant will be retained.