Letter: University fees

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The Independent Online
Sir: Thank you for your praise in your leader on student tuition fees. But contrary to your implication, it is not the intention of the National Union of Students to frighten would-be students away from higher education to make a point in our campaign; the evidence is clear that the prospect of paying university tuition fees is killing ambition among potential students.

Parents will not be relieved of their contribution towards their offspring's living costs. Access to part of the maintenance loan will be means-tested, so better off families will be denied the cheaper state loans.

The tuition fee is the real deterrent. This must be paid up front by those parents assessed to pay all or part of it, and contrary to the repeated assertions by backbench Labour MPs in the media, there will not be a loan for the tuition fee. The Government have made this clear to us and clear to sixth formers and other would-be students in their leaflets, letters and other promotional materials, but the message has not been given to their own representatives, prolonging the confusion over the terrible plan for tuition fees.

It is time for the Government to go back to the drawing board. There is no point inventing a new system of university funding unless you can persuade people to study.


National President

National Union of Students

London N7