Jersey student loan scheme plea by campaigners

Jersey students
Image caption Jersey students have attended a higher education fair to find out their options

A generation of young people could miss out on the chance to go to university unless student loans are introduced, according to a campaign group.

Jersey has a grant system for students in lower income households, but campaigners say there is no support for people who do not qualify.

The Student Loans Support group wants a bespoke loan system for the island.

Education Minister Deputy Rod Bryans said they were examining a range of options.

He said they would not want to introduce a system the same as the one in the UK, calling it a "broken model" that could leave behind a debt of £100bn by 2020.

"I wouldn't wish for any student to be put under that pressure, the consideration that you load a student with £50k worth of debt and try to reclaim that at some point. We see it as a disincentive for students going to the UK to come back to Jersey at some point," he said.

Image caption Grants are available for students with a household income under £98,000

Fleur Sharman, from the campaign group, said the costs of higher education can really add up.

She said: "On top of your maintenance you would have in the region of maybe £3,000 living costs, then you have your flights to get to university, your travel.

"It all adds up so I think to make it a fairer system the States should consider a loan of £9,000 for all students or many will not be able to afford to go."

According to the latest income report, Jersey's average income is about £35,000 per year.

There is no student loan scheme in the island and the grant is means tested based on household income.

If household income is below £26,750, a student would be likely to get the full costs of tuition fees and a maintenance grant of up to £5,500.

A household with an income of £98,355 or more would not qualify for a student grant.

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