On 23rd July 2020 Lord Bassam of Brighton asked the Government “what assessment they have made of the presentation of debt by the Student Loans Company on its online student loan repayment system.” The Bishop of Chichester, Rt Revd Martin Warner, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Chichester: My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Bassam, has made a trenchant point about the presentation of these financial statements. The University of Chichester plans to reopen its school of nursing and to recruit locally—to pick up a point made by the noble Lord, Lord Clark, on an earlier Question. For mature and part-time students whom the university seeks to attract, the level of loan debt is as important as the clarity of the information about their loan repayments—perhaps more so. Will the Minister look again at the impact of student loans on recruitment and retention in key public services in the light of their significance to our recovery from the pandemic?
Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay: The right reverend Prelate makes an important point, weaving together some of the themes from the first Question and this one. He is absolutely right that we want to encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to take advantage of higher education if that is the course they wish to pursue. Mature students who undertake undergraduate courses can qualify for fee loans to meet the cost of their tuition. Those attending courses at honours degree level also qualify for partially means-tested loans for living costs, and those with adult or child dependants can apply for additional means-tested grants on top of that.