Responding to reports that the Chancellor is set to “slash tuition fees” in The Sunday Times today (17 September), Shakira Martin, NUS President, said:
“We welcome commitments from any political party - not least the government - to rethink the failed experiment that is the current £9,000 tuition fees system. For now, we are treating these claims as speculation and we will believe it when we hear it from the Chancellor himself.
“NUS has consistently warned that forcing debt onto students as a way of funding universities is unsustainable. While reducing tuition fees would represent a step in the right direction, the government is not going far enough in addressing all of the barriers facing students wishing to enter and excel in education.
“If the Chancellor is serious about creating a fair education system for everyone, he must look more holistically at the financial burdens students experience rather than just making a handful of piecemeal changes. There has been no commitment to bringing back maintenance grants which would support the poorest students through their study. We also hold strong reservations about creating differential tiers of tuition fees which wrongfully imply a gulf of difference between institutions based on flawed metrics of quality.
“NUS will be watching closely to see whether these plans materialise and we maintain the view that students need to be at the driving seat of any major reforms to ensure they are genuinely made in their best interests.”
Amatey Doku, NUS Vice President (Higher Education) is available to comment on request.
For further comment please contact NUS Press office firstname.lastname@example.org 07866 695 010
Notes for editors
The National Union of Students is a voluntary membership organisation which makes a real difference to the lives of students and its member students' unions.
We are a confederation of 600 students' unions, amounting to more than 95 per cent of all higher and further education unions in the UK. Through our member students' unions, we represent the interests of more than seven million students. We promote, defend and extend the rights of students and develop and champion strong students’ unions.