New minimum entry requirements for student loans would disproportionately impact pupils from poorer backgrounds and ethnic minorities, new analysis has found. Research from the Institute for Fiscal Studies has found that Government proposals for loan access to be limited to pupils who have gained passes in GCSE English and maths, or two E grades at A level finds that a quarter of poorer students would not have been able to access loans as a result of the changes.
Drawing on data from GCSE cohorts in 2011 and 2012, the IFS found that one in four students eligible for free school meals would have been unable to secure a loan under the proposals, compared with 9% of those not eligible for FSM and 5% of private school pupils. The proposed GCSE minimum entry requirements, currently under consultation, would also have had a much greater impact on candidates from Black, British Pakistani or British Bangladeshi backgrounds.
It found that around 7% of white British undergraduates from state schools would have been impacted by the requirements, and around 10% of Chinese and Indian students, whereas nearly one in five (18%) Bangladeshi and Pakistani students would have been impacted, and nearly one in four (23%) black students would have been unable to access loans.
The IFS said that this reflected the fact that ethnic minority pupils from these groups were more likely to attend university than their white peers despite similar attainment at GCSE. The research found that a minimum…