Question to the Department for Education:
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will make an assessment of the potential impact of increasing the age limit for student loans for master’s degrees to 70 years old.
The student finance system has to be both fair and sustainable, and ensure that costs are split fairly between graduates and the taxpayer.
In determining the current postgraduate master’s loan eligibility criteria, the department consulted widely on the proposed terms of the new loan and considered its duty under the Equality Act 2010. A copy of that analysis can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/526274/bis-16-289-postgraduate-masters-loans-equality-analysis.pdf.
The upper age limit of 60 years old was put in place to ensure that the overall scheme remains affordable to the taxpayer and offers value for money. The age limit is designed to restrict eligibility to those statistically most likely to continue in long-term employment and be able to repay the loan. The department believes that the current age restriction strikes the right balance between addressing the repayment challenge of older students and encouraging a broad range of individuals to undertake postgraduate study.
The department is closely monitoring take up of the loan and the response by students, the sector and employers. However, at present there are no plans to amend the loan eligibility criteria or undertake any impact assessments.