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NUS responds to Autumn statement announcement on cap on student numbers

Thursday 5 December 2013

The National Union of Students (NUS) today commented on an announcement made by Chancellor George Osborne during the Autumn Statement.

The Chancellor announced the Government plan to use the sale of the pre-2010 student loan book to deliver 30,000 extra student places in 2014-15, and to remove the cap on student numbers entirely thereafter.

Rachel Wenstone, NUS vice president (higher education), said:

“It’s encouraging that the Government’s u-turn on its student number controls policy means that more university places look set to be made available as a result. We have always said it is a source of national shame that tens of thousands of well-qualified students with the ability and aspiration to succeed in higher education have been unable to go because of arbitrary limits.

“The fact that the Chancellor is claiming that his uncapped places policy will be funded by yet another fire sale of the student loan book should be ringing alarm bells. Using the sale of public assets to fund this project is a short term fix because the current student loans system is completely unsustainable and this selling of public assets is stacking up problems for the next generation.

"The simple fact is that it will see the public money subsidising a private company to make a profit from the sale of public assets, which is incredibly problematic in itself. Forcing debt onto students as a way of paying for universities is an experiment that has been proven not to work and we need to see serious thought about moving the system away from this unsustainable funding burden.”

 ENDS

 Notes to editors:

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