Student Loans In England Are Set To Rise By 2.5%— But With Inflation It’s Actually A Cut

We’re over the government ignoring the struggles of students.

The government has announced that from September 2024 English student loans will rise by 2.5%. This means that regardless of your personal circumstances and your parent’s income, everyone will receive a slight increase in their maintenance loan— but while this might seem like a win, it’s actually a real-term cut which is not helpful for anyone.

Unfortunately, the struggles of students amidst the cost of living crisis seem to be generally ignored by the government. So, while news that student maintenance loans in England will be increasing might seem like a good thing and an acknowledgement that students are struggling and need more financial support, it’s actually not enough at all.

Will I receive an increase in my student loan?

Yes, if you’re an English student, regardless of where you’re studying in the UK and what year of uni you’re in you will receive an increase of 2.5% from September. The overall amount of maintenance loan you receive will still depend on your parent’s income and your personal financial circumstances, but everyone will get a slight increase.

This is a good thing right?

Uh, no not exactly. If you look at things a bit closer, inflation is currently at 4% which means while everyone is getting an increase, the cost of everything else is also up to the point the increase will not make any difference. This is also a low increase compared to previous years, the last increase in 2022 saw students receive a 2.8% increase and while this is higher than this year’s increase, inflation was sitting at 10.7%— proving that students are not being paid enough to be able to afford basic necessities.

Maintenance loans are designed to cover the costs of rent, food, bills and socialising but with the rising costs of everything most students struggle to get by on the money they’re given from the government. Even with a part-time job, most students have to stick to a strict budget to be able to balance a social life and hobbies with basic necessities such as food and rent and their struggles are often ignored.

Not to mention, students have chosen to pursue full-time further education and often have to pick up extra shifts or skip uni in order to be able to balance a non-flexible part-time job, just to get by.

The following table shows the increases over the last few years for those who would be getting the maximum student loan allowance compared to what they should actually be getting if loans had increased in line with inflatioon.

Academic YearLoan for students living with parentsLoan for students living away from homeLoan for students living away from home in London
2024/2025- IF the loan had risen with inflation£9,674£11,492£14,988
Real-terms cut in loan£1,064 (11%)£1,265 (11%)£1,650 (11%)
You can read more about these results and how they were calculated here.

What’s happening in the rest of the UK?

The 2.5% increase is just for English students, however there are some differences across the rest of the UK.

In Scotland– There will be no increase in maintenance loans for the 2024/2025 academic year. However, additional support will be available for those who are struggling to apply for to help cover study, travel and childcare costs.

In Wales- All new students will receive a maintenance loan increase of 3.7%, including students who have been studying since 2018.

In Northern Ireland– Maintenace loans will not be increasing for 2024/2025, however, loans were increased by 27% for the previous academic year.

It’s clear that the government are not willing to accept how difficult it can be for students, in most cases the cost of living in student halls for a year often exceeds most students’ maintenance loans meaning they have to make up the money elsewhere while balancing their studies and a social life.

It seems that for yet another year students will have to struggle to balance the costs of renting and bills alongside their social lives and sacrifice uni hours to work a part-time job, which is not only unfair but can take a huge toll on mental health.

You can read more about these changes here.