Hardship will be at the heart of debate when the Mature Students Union meets in Manchester tomorrow for its annual conference. Discussion will focus on the review into hardship and access funds being conducted by the Department for Education and Employment and scheduled to report by the end of this year.
In its submission to the review, the MSU argued that many mature students eligible for benefits while completing access courses or higher national diplomas or certificates found it difficult to plan a move into degree work.
Undergraduates have to rely on student loans and while they may have access to hardship funds, they do not know how much they will receive or for how long.
Barry Farleigh, MSU vice-president, said there should be clear means-tested ways of administering access funds.