On 8th July the Chancellor George Osborne announced in his budget planned to scrap maintenance grants for students going to university from 2016/17 an replacing them with maintenance loans.
Houghton and Sunderland South MP, Bridget Phillipson met with the President of Sunderland Students Union, Bilal Raja; Vice President: Full & Part Time Education, Millie Thomas; and Vice President: Societies, Daniel Punch, (all pictured) to discuss the impact on students.
Maintenance grants are given to students from lower income households to help with their living costs. Students with a household income of less than £25,000 per year can receive a maximum grant of £3,387 per year towards their studies. Currently approximately half a million students rely on maintenance grants. Over 64% of University of Sunderland's home students registered with the Student Loans Company have a household income of less than £25,000 per year.
Bridget Phillipson MP said:
"I want to thank Bilal, Millie, Daniel and the rest of the Sunderland Students Union team for their hard work and determination in standing up for students in Sunderland and for raising their concerns with me.
"The Chancellor should not be putting at risk the hard work which has gone into widening participation in higher education.
"I will be writing to the government to press ministers to think again so that those from the poorest backgrounds are not deterred from applying to university."