Poorer students to receive grant following ministers' U-turn

STUDENTS from poor families could receive up to pound;40 a week following the Government's U-turn on the abolition of university maintenance grants. The new scheme is expected to be unveiled in October as part of a review of higher education.

About 500,000 undergraduates, half the total, could benefit, paid for by the pound;15 billion three-year increase in education funding, announced by Chancellor Gordon Brown last month.

Students from families with an income of less than pound;13,000 a year would receive the full grant. There would be a sliding scale to about pound;5 a week. Those from families earning more than pound;30,000 would get nothing.

The higher education maintenance allowance plan could come into effect within three years. It is an extension of the educational maintenance allowance for 16 to 18-year-olds which has been piloted in 55 areas. Students are now leaving higher education with average debts of pound;12,000.

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