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The Guardian are reporting that this afternoon's budget will replace maintenence grants for the poorest university students with loans, paid back on the terms of the existing fee loans.
With the current working assumption that around 55% of all borrowers will be unable to pay back the entireity of their fee loans (£27,000 for a three year course), how many do you think will be unable to pay off their fee loans PLUS this new maintenence loan? (let's not even mention the "regular" maintenence loans here)
Go on, have a guess.
So it is very unlikely that this policy will even raise enough to pay for its own implementation, far less £1.6bn, and instead it will probably end up adding to the overall cost of HE funding.