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Student Awards 2007/2008 12 March 2007

The Department of Education’s proposals for changes to the Student Awards Regulations for the academic year 2007/08 are to be considered for approval at the March sitting of Tynwald.

The key proposals include the following:

• To continue the policy of the Department to support students by payment of annual tuition fees.

• To continue the provision of a means tested maintenance grant subject to parental or contributor’s income.

• To increase the standard means tested maintenance award contributing to a student’s living expenses by approximately £100 and other grants in proportion. For UK and overseas courses the increase will raise the maximum grant for a postgraduate student in London or a foreign country to £9,270 and elsewhere to £7,190. The maximum grant for a 30 week undergraduate degree course in London or a foreign country rises to £4,770 and £4,300 elsewhere.

• To maintain the upper age limit of eligibility for an award at 50, with means-tested tuition fees assistance available for those between 40 and 50 years if attending courses on the Isle of Man or between 30 and 50 years if attending courses at UK or foreign institutions. For the majority of students who are below these ages, full tuition fees support continues as do means-tested maintenance grants.

• To continue support by the provision of means tested tuition fees for full time, part time and distance learning courses up to the age of 50 years.

Commenting on the proposed measures the Minister for Education, the Hon Anne Craine said,

“The Department has been able to continue its programme of support for our students in higher education despite the “top-up” tuition fees introduced by UK universities and colleges last year. In addition, an increase in the maintenance grant is proposed to assist with cost of living increases.
For those students wishing to undertake full time study in the Isle of Man support will continue to be available for tuition fees and means tested maintenance support up to age 40 and all students up to age 50 can apply for means tested tuition fee support for full time, part time and distance learning courses.
The proposals represent an extensive range of support for our Island residents wishing to undertake higher education. In particular they continue to enable our young people to enjoy a wide freedom of choice and provide significant financial assistance for our school leavers entering higher education at a crucial stage of their development.”

Other proposed changes to note for 2007 are:

Eligibility for student awards

The regulations have now reached a stage of development which set out clear requirements which must be met by a student to qualify for support and this has allowed the removal of certain overriding discretionary criteria contained in the previous regulations. However, some discretionary criteria are retained with regard to residence, postgraduate study and part-time courses.

Applications

Deadlines for the submission of applications have been introduced in order to ensure as far as possible that students can be advised of their awards before the start of the academic year. A programme of reminders via schools, press and email will be undertaken to ensure that applicants are aware of these.

Transfer of awards

Whilst it is important that a student must take time and care at the outset to ensure that the course is appropriate and suitable for their requirement, occasionally they may have reason to transfer from one institution or course to another. Under the new proposals requests are to be submitted within 12 months of the first year of the course in order that this situation can be dealt with as quickly as possible and the extent to which support may be available for the new course can be determined and advised to the student.

Contributors

A contributor is a person whose income is to be taken into account under the Regulations in determining a student’s eligibility for, and the amount of, a maintenance grant and will normally refer to parents or guardians of a student. The definition has been revised to mean the family living with the student as the contributors whereas the previous regulations defined each birth parent as a contributor.

Appeals

In the case of an appeal against a decision made under the regulations, following a review process, the further and final level of appeal is to an external Education (Awards) Tribunal to be appointed under the Tribunals Act 2006. The proposals establish an external and independent review process which is consistent with the principles of human rights legislation. The Tribunal will replace the Appeals Panel which previously determined appeals.

Background notes:

Each year, approximately 1,150 undergraduate and 130 post graduate students are supported by the Department to further their studies at Higher Education establishments in the United Kingdom, whilst a further 250 are supported on Further & Higher Education courses at the Isle of Man College and International Business School on the Island. The annual budget for Further & Higher Education courses, both in the UK and on Island, is £10.1 million, (£2.0m in maintenance grants and £8.1m in tuition fees)

A downloadable copy of a Brief Guide to the Student Award Scheme is being prepared and will be available in due course on the Department’s website at the following link http://www.gov.im/education/support/grants.xml.

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