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Top-up fees are unjust, unfair and inequitable, say NUS

Rising tuition fees have prompted the National Union of Students (NUS) to last night launch a new campaign calling for an end to “soaring” debt levels.

Launched at the Royal Society of Medicine, London, “Admission: Impossible” ensures that students from poorer backgrounds can enjoy the benefits of higher education.

Gemma Tumelty, NUS National President, said: “The decision to go to university is becoming an increasingly hard one to make for many people in society, particularly those from families where finances are tight”.

Speaking alongside Brendan Barber, Trades Union Congress (TUC) General Secretary, she continued: “Weighing up the prospect of graduating with huge levels of debt, and an average starting salary of just £19,000 is extremely difficult”.

3.7% less students have confirmed university places than at the same time last year according to recent UCAS figures. Research also confirms that students from poorer backgrounds are most likely to be put off higher education by fears of debt.

“Admission:Impossible” says; no to soaring levels of student debt, no to any attempt to lift the £3,000 cap, no to the marketisation of education and yes to free education and access for all,” she added.

“If the government is serious about access to education it needs to increase student support, not increase student debt. Access to university should be based on aspirations and ability, not bank balances.”

Thousands of students nationwide will be demonstrating for the cap on fees to be lowered, and for a free education system accessible to all, on October 29th.

Referring to Alan Johnson’s statement earlier in the year that he would consider “abandoning the policy altogether”, she said: “Sadly, we have every reason to believe that those students will be deterred, and we will not be letting Alan Johnson forget what he said”.

“This system is unjust, unfair and inequitable, and the fight is on for an education system accessible for all.”

Annabel Hardy.

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