Proposed student loan arrangements relaxed

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Proposed loan arrangements have been relaxed to make it easier for students to repay university tuition fee loans, the Isle of Man government has said.

Instead of interest being charged from the outset of the loan, the government will now not charge until the completion of higher education.

Plans to make students pay towards their university education were unveiled on the island last November.

Since then more than 1,000 people have signed a petition against the move.

Education minister Tim Crookall said he hoped the changes would address loan repayment worries.

He added: "We have listened to the concerns expressed by students, their parents and my political colleagues that some lower earning families would have felt unable to take on responsibility for these loans and have agreed a change of policy accordingly.

'Solely liable'

"Students would now be solely liable for the loans, which they would not begin to repay until a year after their studies are completed and only then if they are earning at least £21,000 a year."

A debate on the issue is expected later this month when Tynwald will be asked to approve the cut, which is expected to save about £4.4m a year.

It would mean charging undergraduates at least £2,500 a year, from 2014.

Island students whose parents earn more than £80,000 a year will be asked to pay more.

The island Department of Education currently spends £11m of its £95.8m annual budget on student awards, supporting 1,400 Manx students every year.

The changes would lead to an annual saving of £4.4m-a-year, a spokesman said.

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