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BIS hits panic button – all student support funding to EU students suspended

December 2, 2013

Times Higher Education is reporting that the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills has now written to all ‘alternative’ HE providers with designated status to advise them that all student support funding to EU students has been halted for 2013/14.

This applies to students whatever course they are studying (HNC, HND, BA, BSC etc) and whatever stage of their course they are on. The payments for tuition fees and maintenance support (loans and grants) will be restored on proving that each student is entitled to what they are receiving.

EU students have access by right of citizenship to tuition fee loans, but must prove prior residency in UK of 3 years in order to access maintenance loans and grants.

This does not apply to Home students at private providers. But Bulgarian and Romanian students at established universities and colleges are similarly affected.

It appears that there has been a catastrophic process breakdown at BIS, which ‘designates’ courses as eligible for student support, and the Student Loans Company, which processes individual student support applications.

This emergency measure comes on top of revelations that uncontrolled Home & EU recruitment to alternative providers has caused severe problems for the BIS departmental expenditure budget. Cuts of £570million in 2014/15 and £860million in 2015/16 are required. The first of the former was announced on Thursday - £100m from the National Scholarship Programme.

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