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Students from well-off divorced families receiving grants

Up to 25 per cent of university students may have received grants intended for those from poorer families because their parents are divorced or separated.

According to a report in The Guardian, the Student Loans Company does not consider the income of divorced non-resident parents when assessing students for grants and loans, nor does it count child support payments made to the parent with care.

Consequently, if the resident parent has a low income beyond any child support they receive, their children will qualify for low income grants., which are worth several thousand pounds per year, even if their other parent is wealthy.

The anomaly has been criticised by Labour MPs, the paper reports. Frank Field said the situation could discourage separated parents from getting back together or remarrying.

“I believe this creates a moral hazard. I will be asking [the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills] why it has penalised…parents in this way.”

His colleague on the Labour benches, John Denham MP, added:

“There has been a longstanding anomaly in which the number of people getting full student grants looks much higher than the number of people from low-income families going to university.”

A spokesman for the Department said ministers believed it would be too costly and legally impractical to oblige non-resident parents contribute to their children’s upkeep while at university.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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  1. Andrew says:

    Typical politics of envy from the Guardian.

  2. Ellie says:

    My son (in his third year of his MPhys course) gets (almost) a full grant and a loan. I am the resident parent in the middle of an acrimonious divorce, I earn 26k while my STBX earns over 100k. I think it is disgraceful that “the taxpayer” is providing this grant whilst my son’s father is such a high earner but I am glad they do – because otherwise, he would not be able to continue at Uni. I could not support him. His loan just covers his rent so living expenses have to come from somewhere. Personally I believe, certainly in this case, that the NRP should be made to provide – but he has washed his hands of our children as well as me.

  3. Andrew says:

    If your son is under 21 or doing a first degree, I agree. Otherwise not. He could not be forced to provide if you were still together so why should the divorce change the picture? There has to come appoint at which parental responsibility ends.

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