University fees & loan hikes rushed through!

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LEGISLATION has been raced through Parliament before it breaks up for the general election which allows universities to raise tuition fees every year until 2020.

To make matters worse the legislation gives the green light for the interest rates on student loans to be sharply hiked up from 4.6% to 6.1% from the autumn.The Higher Education and Research Bill was pushed through while the NUS was having its annual conference in Brighton.

The higher education legislation also allows universities, in 2020-21 to charge what they like dependent on their ‘quality of education’. Students have been asked to fill in the National Student Survey (NSS) to rate universities on the ‘quality’ of their education.

The National Union of Students rightly launched a campaign to boycott the NSS which amounts to ‘turkeys voting for Christmas’ as the results of the survey will be used to drive up fees. The NUS said in a statement: ‘Students have been explicit and united in their call for the government to respond to their additional demands. Their actions have included boycotting the National Student Survey, which would make their data a key component in the proposed Teaching Excellence Framework and subsequent fee rises.’

University and College Union general secretary Sally Hunt said: ‘The government is pressing ahead with plans which seriously risk damaging the global reputation of our universities. This is part of their long-term plans to marketise the sector.’

Joshua Ogunleye, National Secretary of the Young Socialists said: ‘This is daylight robbery! Student debt is already soaring, now they drive up the interest rates as well as driving up the fees! There is only one thing for it. Students and lecturers must unite and strike as part of a general strike to bring this government down.

‘All university fees must be abolished and the full non-repayable living grant restored to each and every student so that their accommodation and living expenses are covered while they are studying. Free education must be restored!’