Today I chaired a meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Students, at which student representatives from all over the country shared their views on the student funding system with MPs. The meeting was held in anticipation of the Government’s response to the Augar Review of post-18 education funding.
Over twenty student representatives from a range of universities set out their concerns on issues including the reintroduction of maintenance grants; the inadequacy of current funding to cover the cost of living; the effect that financial stress and part-time employment has on student mental health and wellbeing; difficulties with transport, including cost and lack of discounts for part-time students; and difficulties with the lack of childcare support for parent students.
There was a particular focus on the issues facing ‘non-traditional’ students, including barriers for mature students, supporting students from disadvantaged backgrounds, students who commute, part-time students, distance learning, disabled students, childcare costs and the need for means testing to recognise the position of students who are estranged from their parents.
We’ll be producing a report based on what we heard to inform the debate in Parliament when the Government publish their response to the Augar Review.