§ Margaret Hodge
In addition to loans of £4,815 in London (£3,905 elsewhere), students in serious financial difficulty can currently apply for discretionary help through Hardship Loans of up to £500 each year and grants from the Hardship Fund (where the average grant paid to a full-time undergraduate student in 2001/02 was £677).
The cash amount set aside for Hardship Loans for students in institutions in England and Wales in 2002/03 is £26 million. The amount allocated through the Hardship Fund for students in institutions in England in 2002/03 is £59 million. This compares to total discretionary funding of £22 million provided through the Access Funds in 1997/98. From September 2004, we are replacing Hardship Loans and the Hardship Fund with discretionary grants via a single Access to Learning Fund.
In England and Wales students on full-time undergraduate courses and their families are expected to make a contribution towards the cost of their tuition only if they can afford to do so. The percentage of students in England and Wales in academic years 1998/99, 1999/2000 and 2000/01 (latest year for which data are available) who have been assessed to make a nil contribution towards the cost of their tuition is 45 per cent., 45 per cent. and 42 per cent. respectively. The percentage of students making a partial contribution towards the cost of their tuition in academic years 1998/99, 1999/2000 and 2000/01 is 20 per cent., 20 per cent. and 19 per cent. respectively.