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Hooper responds to student finance fallout

Some have criticised the system for being unfair

An MHK has admitted the Manx government's student finance system does leave a 'small group' of families at a disadvantage.

Member for the Department of Education, Sport and Culture Lawrie Hooper is heading a review of the financial support available to Island students.

He believes the system is generally good, but says there are some who are being asked to pay extra towards living costs at university.

A full maintenance grant of £5,500 is available, but this support is means tested.

For example, if parents have a combined net income of £30,000, £3,295 is deducted from the grant's full total.

Some students have raised concerns about the pressures this places on parents to pay for things like accommodations, textbooks and other living expenses.

Questions have also been raised over whether 'net income' is a fair calculation of the finances available to a household.

Mr Hooper says it costs roughly £9 million a year to fund the student finance system, and around 30% of those who take tertiary education receive a maintenance grant.

Having been asked on social media whether any changes were needed to the current system, Mr Hooper replied, perhaps sarcastically, "none at all - that's why I'm leading a review of the system, because it's perfect just the way it is".

He told Manx Radio how the current system works:

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