10/07/2015 08:49 BST | Updated 15/01/2016 05:59 GMT

Student Maintenance Funding: 'I Owe My Life, Everything I Have, To State Grants'

George Osborne's announcement that maintenance grants for some for the country's poorest university students would be cut and replaced with loans brought shock and outrage last July.

On Thursday, it emerged the grants would be quietly axed in a committee room, without giving MPs the chance to debate the move on the Commons floor.

Shelly Asquith, Vice President of the National Union of Students, described the move as "tax cuts for the rich, grants cuts for the poorest students".

Speaking to HuffPost UK, Mary Gregory says when her daughter started university, her husband had been unable to work for some time because of illness and she was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia.

"I was only given a short time to live. There is no way my daughter could have gone had it not been for the grant she received. She has now worked for some 15 years in HR and paid back in tax far more than she received as a grant. This would have been a totally different story without a grant.

"Our son was able to follow his sister and is now also in a good job in a position of responsibility. Win, win for the grant system.

"To have relied on loans alone neither would have been where they are now."

Nathan Coyle wondered whether Britain's young people were "the new immigrants", while Osborne himself insisted: "It is fair to students. Fair to taxpayers. And vital to secure our long term economic future."

The announcement is already making potential university students think twice, and we asked those who had already been through the system with the support of maintenance grants, how they would have coped without.

Photo gallery Six People Who Couldn't Have Gone To University Without Maintenance Grants See Gallery