HL Deb 06 October 2003 vol 653 cc1-2WA
Baroness Greengross

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many students have been refused a student loan because they are over 54 years of age; and. [HL4464]

How many students over 54 years of age are in the process of taking degrees. [HL4465]

Baroness Ashton of Upholland

The latest figures for 2001–02 show that there were 1,200 students on full-time first degree courses in English HE institutions who were aged over 54. Information on the number of people aged over 54 who apply for a student loan is not held centrally.

Grant for tuition fees, and supplementary grants for living costs (e.g. dependants’ grants for students with children and disabled students’ grants) are available to all eligible students whatever their age. It is only loans for living costs (which have to be repaid) that are subject to an upper age limit on eligibilty. They are not available to over 54 year-olds (or over 49 year-olds who do not intend to enter employment upon graduation) only because the loan is written off at retirement age (65), and removing this age limit would leave many older graduates with inadquate time for repayment. Students over 54 who face additional costs whilst studying can apply for help from hardship funds.

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