CHANGES to the grants system for Islanders in higher education have been brought in by the Children’s and Education Minister following feedback from parents and a leading pressure group.
Deputy Inna Gardiner said that new arrangements would be in place from September this year, providing extra funding for those studying in London and increased bursaries for care leavers.
The changes follow calls from Jersey’s Student Loan Support Group for a more sustainable system that took account of the situations of individual students.
Deputy Gardiner said the changes were a response to the increased cost of living, and the additional pressures this is placing on students and families, leading to all students receiving either the same level of maintenance grant or – in many cases – more funding.
The 10% ‘London weighting’ increase is intended to reflect the higher cost of living in London, and is in line with student finance provision made by England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Care leavers studying for a higher education qualification will see an increase in the available bursary from £3,000 to £3,429, while those studying for further education qualifications will be eligible for a bursary of £1,029, a rise of £129 on the current figure.
Means-tested grants are currently paid according to a banding system for relevant income, but this will be replaced by a sliding scale. The maximum grant of £8,572 – for those with total income of £50,000 or lower – will gradually decrease by approximately £1 of grant for every £6 of income to a minimum grant of £1,715 for those at the upper end of the income scale, which is £89,999.
Deputy Gardiner said: ‘I continue to speak to parents, students and the Jersey Student Loan Support Group and appreciate the increasing cost of living is a real challenge.
‘If we want an Island of highly skilled workers, we need to ensure that all students, no matter their household income, have the option of studying for a degree. We already offer generous, means-tested, non-repayable maintenance grants. But moving to a sliding scale model will mean that fewer students see a sudden drop off in their funding as their incomes rise.
‘This is especially important for Jersey students who face additional barriers, including students
who have experience of being in care. I am proud to announce that we will also be increasing the support they receive through the care leavers offer to reflect the additional cost of living.’