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Student loans stopped at Spurgeon's College after failing regulator test

Tue 20 Aug 2019
By Tola Mbakwe

Spurgeon's College, one of the UK's leading Christian Colleges, has announced that some of its students will no longer be able to get financial help after the Office for Students (OfS) turned down its registration application.

Although the College passed four of its five tests for registration, it did not meet its financial sustainability test.

The decision by the OfS, the independent regulator of higher education in England, means some students will no longer be able to access any kind of student loan from the Student Loans Company and students still eligible for loans will not be able to access the full amount.

 

Spurgeon's College said in a statement that it "fundamentally disagrees with this financial assessment and believes it has been made on seriously flawed assumptions."

It added: "It is important to note that no question has been raised regarding the high quality of the College's educational offer. Despite the OfS decision, Spurgeon's College will remain open and will continue with its core mission to train men and women for Christian ministry.

"The OfS decision won't stop this vital work, but it is a significant blow to the College and its students, and we believe it is contrary to Government policies encouraging diversification of the higher education market.

"We are fully committed to doing everything we can to minimise any impact for students arising from this decision. The College is a charity with a robust balance sheet, funds in the bank and plans for the future."
The College is considering taking legal action over the matter.

It has also called on the Minister for Universities, Jo Johnson, to undertake a review.

OfS told Premier in a statement: "A spokesperson for the Office for Students said: “Where we reach a decision to refuse registration we consider whether and when to publish information about our decision.  We always seek the views of the university or college concerned before reaching a decision about publication.  In this case, that consultation process has not concluded and we are not therefore able to make further comment at this stage.”

Listen to Cara Bentley speaking with the Principal of Spurgeon's College, Rev Prof Philip McCormack here: 

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