“Students facing high living costs at university can choose to live frugally and it is not always up to parents to supplement loans, universities minister Jo Johnson [Eton and Balliol, Bullingdon Club member, former banker at Deutsche Bank, brother of Boris] has said.
Responding to questions about the pressure on parents to supplement maintenance loans, the minister conceded there may be a gap between the loans provided and the actual cost of living at university.
He said that did not mean parents had to fill the gap. Some students chose to work to supplement their loan, some saved before beginning their course and others chose to be frugal and live modestly. …
.. .The minister was taking part in a fringe event at the Conservative party conference in Manchester on Tuesday with consumer finance expert Martin Lewis, who argued that means-tested maintenance loans did not cover the cost of living and parents were struggling to fill that gap.
Lewis, who led an independent taskforce looking into student finance, said the cost of living was now the biggest problem students faced when going to university, with loans falling short of expenditure on accommodation and other living costs.
The minister said there may be a gap but added: “That does not necessarily mean it’s a gap that has to be filled by parental contributions.
“There are many other ways in which students could fill that gap. They can work, as many, many students do. They can also save, and then of course they can borrow from their parents if they wish, but it isn’t necessarily a parental contribution.”
Johnson continued: “What is also so important to bear in mind is that students have many different choices about the kind of lifestyle they want at university.
“Some students want to live very modestly and have a frugal existence, focusing on their studies. Other students may want a different lifestyle but there isn’t one cost of going to university – it’s a very specific choice that each individual will make.”
Johnson’s comments came as the Institute for Fiscal Studies thinktank (IFS) said Theresa May’s offer of loan repayment relief for graduates in England would cost the government an extra £2bn a year.”