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Alliance calls for student funding reivew

August 14, 2002 12:00 AM

On the eve of this years A-level results Alliance Youth Affairs Spokesperson Michael Long has called on the Minister for Education and Learning Carmel Hanna to look again at the issue of student finance and scrap tuition fees.

The call was made in a week through in which changes in England will result in Northern Ireland students facing amongst the worst levels of financial support in these islands. At the same time a NatWest Survey has revealed that half of those who have not pursued a University career did not do so because of fears of acquiring huge financial debt.

Councillor Long said:

"At a time when potential students are considering their options its clear that local students deserve a better deal. This week even the SDLP's Education Spokesperson, Tommy Gallagher has called for tuition fees to be scrapped, and described existing provision as not being realistic. Surely it is now up to his party colleague Carmel Hanna to act and Alliance is calling for tuition fees to be scrapped immediately."

"The NatWest survey again underlines the fact that fear of acquiring debts is deterring potential students. Alliance firmly believes that a fairer deal for students is the only way to attract more people from disadvantaged groups and low income backgrounds."

"It is time that Carmel Hanna went back to the drawing board as her current policy would definitely not achieve pass grades from local students."

ENDS.

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