The Socialist 20 September 2007 |
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Scrap student fees
Fight for a living grant
Students protest against fees
"I have no incentive for going to university. I can get an alright job without a degree and there's no debt to deal with..." This sentiment is reflected by thousands of students around the country.
Holly Robbins, Somerset Socialist Students
Spiralling student debt has built up since the introduction of top-up fees and is both infuriating those already in higher education and discouraging others from even considering university as a viable option.
Prime minister Gordon Brown faces growing student anger, especially with the threat of lifting the cap on top-up fees to a ridiculous £10,000 a year.
University heads expect fees to at least double from the current maximum of £3,070, according to one survey.
One estimate of the amount a student will pay over the three years in university, including food and accommodation, was a staggering £20,000! If fees go up, this figure would rise to £38,000, not considering inflation and rising living costs.
Those in degrees such as medicine will have three or four more years of fees to repay.
While all financial assistance is welcome, the grants increased by Gordon Brown's government are not enough to hide the massive hypocrisy in New Labour's education policies.
Billions of pounds have been found to bail out the banks and yet students are offered a pittance. The writing off of unpaid loans costs the government £1 billion a year. Why not convert this into grants?
Instead, interest rates on loans to students are set to rise to cover this, as well as the sale of the student loans company to private investors who could then charge whatever they want.
These attacks will mean even more debt for graduates, who are already expecting to take more than 15 years to fully pay back all they owe.
Financial pressure is felt by graduates and their families for decades after they leave further education, and hinders them in starting 'living', especially important steps like buying their first house or starting a family. The government is destroying our futures; we need to put a stop to this immediately!
Mass campaigning by the National Union of Students (NUS) could put substantial pressure on those in power to stop these unacceptable neo-liberal attacks on students. Unfortunately the majority of the leadership is politically tied to New Labour and has so far failed to lead a mass fightback.
Decent, free education has been ripped away from us. Further education is now a minefield of financial worry that frightens students away from their right to education. We need to unite all students that want to fight the fees and stop the unrelenting privatisation of education.
The Campaign to Defeat Fees was launched by Socialist Students to do just that. It aims to unite all who want to defend our right to education, through campaigning and democratic involvement of college and university students.
The CDF fights for the abolition of fees, kicking big business and student loan companies out of education, an end to cuts and closures, and writing off all student debt. Join now to make your anger heard and start fighting back.
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