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Scrutiny call for higher education funding plans

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PROPOSALS for higher-education funding should be lodged next week to avoid the issue dragging on while the Education Minister has stepped aside from his ministerial duties, a Scrutiny panel chairman has said.

Deputy Rod Bryans has stepped aside from his role as Education Minister

Deputy Jeremy Maçon, who chairs the Education and Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel, said that the news that Deputy Rod Bryans was the subject of an investigation following a complaint of inappropriate behaviour made by a woman had raised uncertainty about the future of the plans.

Housing Minister Anne Pryke is currently standing in as Education Minister.

During last year’s Budget debate Treasury Minister Alan Maclean revealed that the States would pay tuition fees up to £9,250 for all families with a household income of less than £150,000, while families with a combined income of more than that amount would receive half the cost of tuition fees.

Currently, the lowest-income households – those that earn less than £34,000 a year – can receive up to £9,250 towards tuition fees and up to £6,000 towards maintenance costs. Any household earning more than £101,000 is not entitled to receive any financial assistance, and students from Jersey cannot access the UK loan scheme.

Deputy Maçon said that the panel were ‘deeply concerned’ that proposals had not yet been lodged and that deadlines given by ministers had already been missed.

He added: ‘With the recent news of the Education Minister “stepping aside” it has created further uncertainty and concern for many parents and students. The panel has contacted the assistant minister, Deputy Pryke, to clarify these concerns. The Scrutiny Panel would recommend that a proposition is lodged during the next week by the Council of Ministers, otherwise it will have no choice but to bring forward solutions based on the information available to the panel.’

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