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From The Socialist newspaper, 16 November 2001

No To The Graduate Tax - Fight For Free Education

MANY YOUNG people were relieved to read that the government is discussing abolishing tuition fees and introducing a grant. However, New Labour's reported proposals for replacing the current system would leave many students worse off.

Since tuition fees were introduced and the grant abolished three years ago, they have been massively unpopular. After the general election Tony Blair admitted that the tuition fees issue had generated the most anger on the doorstep.

This massive U-turn was an admission that tuition fees and the scrapping of the grant had been a tremendous failure. Over the last few years, fees have deterred thousands of young people from going to university. Thousands more could not pay the fees as they can't afford them. Millions of pounds of fees are unpaid.

However, the alternative proposed by New Labour ministers won't improve the situation for thousands of students. Many will be worse off as tuition fees are replaced with a graduate tax.

At the same time the current system of 'soft' loans with low interest rates would be abolished, forcing students to borrow at commercial rates. If implemented these plans would result in a massive explosion of student debt, even compared with the high levels of debt already incurred by students.

Thousands of young people would still be deterred from going to university for financial reasons, particularly those from working-class families.

The proposed grant would benefit few students. The grant, which will be worth at most 2,700 will only be available to students whose parents earn less than 10,000. So a student, both of whose parents earn only the minimum wage or are on top-up benefits, could be excluded from receiving a grant.

The ditching of the current funding arrangements shows the pressure that New Labour have come under to scrap fees. But they want students to carry the burden of paying for Britain's higher education system.

Students must keep building a mass movement for free education. Only an education system that is free for everyone will enable equal access to university for all, regardless of background.

National Union of Students (NUS) regional days of action are taking place over the next couple of weeks. Students must use the protests to send a message to New Labour, that we will accept nothing short of a free education system.

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In The Socialist 16 November 2001:

No To War: Fight For A Socialist World

Jobcentre safety dispute: Demanding A Safe Workplace

Stop this brutal war

Port Talbot Steelworks Explosion: Make Safety Not Profit First Priority

No To The Graduate Tax - Fight For Free Education

150,000 Say "No To War" In Rome

Kashmir: US Policy Is Destabilising Region

Why We Need International Socialism

A 'Call To Arms' Against Privatisation


 

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Related links:

Tuition Fees:

triangleMobilise against rip-off executive pay

triangleSocialist Students day of action demands free education

triangleMarch for free education! We demand a future!

triangleWalk out against tuition fees on Budget Day!

triangleJoin the budget day protests!

Tax:

triangleCardiff East Socialist Party: How we beat the Poll Tax

triangleTurn Carillion crisis into movement against privatisation and capitalism

triangleCardiff West Socialist Party: How the Poll Tax was beaten

triangleThe Socialist Inbox

Education:

triangleUniversity workers' walkout for decent pensions

triangleFailing academy chain strips school assets - end academisation!

triangleLecturers vote for strikes against pension cuts

Students:

triangleLeicester Uni makes Tory fee tripler David Willetts chancellor - sack Willetts!

triangleHow can students and young people fight the Tories?

Fees:

triangleUni market 'failure', two-year degrees - end cuts, scrap fees!

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