NUS Leader Responds to Clegg’s Letter

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NUS president Aaron Porter responds to Nick Clegg. You can read the full letter here: NUS response to Nick Clegg PDF. Some extracts from the letter are noted below:

“I am pleased that you have clarified that your recall proposals were to apply to serious wrongdoing. But you should know that we would regard the breaking of signed, individual pledges to vote against higher fees as both serious and wrong. This is not as simple as coalition parties having to compromise.” [pg.1]

“You herald bringing part-time students into the scheme as a success – we agreed on the day Browne was published – but only those studying at 33% or more will benefit from a loan.” [pg.1]

“You trumpet the change in the post-graduation repayment threshold – convenientlyignoring that the £21k level won’t be introduced until 2016, or increased until 2021. If inflation is higher than 2.2%, the £21,000 earnings repayment threshold will not offer any real advantages to graduates by 2015/16.” [pg.1]

“You argue progressivity through the example of a nurse (astonishing, given that nursing students use a completely different student support system)” [pg.1]

“It is ridiculous to assume that students won’t take the price of a courseinto account when choosing it, regardless of the repayment mechanism. A truly progressive system is one where students are able to make decisions according to their learning needs without concern at all to price or potential returns (as remains the case in the proposed system), or viability in relation to the support they could obtain. A modified graduate tax would have removed price as a determinant in student choice.” [pg.2]

“But worse, the proposed system means that higher contributions go to rich institutions and lower ones to poor institutions. By operating a “fees and loans” scheme instead of a graduate tax, it means that the higher payments from richer graduates end up flowing into the universities that are already richest, with the fewest poor students to support, the most endowment funds and the best asset bases. This means that, apart from the few on “golden ticket” scholarships, the poorest students go to the poorest institutions and the richest students end up topping up the richest institutions.” [pg.2]

“Study after study demonstrates that attainment at Level 3 (i.e. A Level equivalent) is the most important determinant of university access – yet each time you talk about your £150m scheme youneglect to mention the £450m you are taking out of the Education Maintenance Allowance(EMA).” [pg.2]

“Of course, you have also announced the closure of the AimHigher programme which aims to widen participation in higher education, and have announced that you expect universities that charge the highest tuition costs to invest more in attracting and supporting the poorest students. But this won’t work, and is unfair.” [pg.3]

“Worst of all, this measure implies that more elite universities will be expected to return someof their additional fee income to poorer students in the form of bursaries. This system is inplace already, and is so chaotic and unfair that you promised to rule it out in your manifesto:“We will reform current bursary schemes to create a National Bursary Scheme for students, so that each university gets a bursary budget suited to the needs of its students”. Your proposals would extend an already unfair university bursary system.” [pg.3]

“The Government is, in effect, proposing a vote to triple fees before Christmas; a vote to make them ‘progressive’ after Christmas; and a vote on legislation to deliver value for money for those fees much further down the line. This process is nothing short of a democratic disgraceand should be resisted by MPs and Lords of all parties – and especially by you” [pg.4]


One response to “NUS Leader Responds to Clegg’s Letter

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention NUS Leader Responds to Clegg’s Letter « negativentropy --

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