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Showing posts from November, 2017

Can students be confident in their future with this budget?

Figures by Sara Cunningham Bell, Victoria College Belfast 2001 The budget (1) appeared to offer little to students that are hard pressed or indeed much incentive for those from a lower income background thinking of pursuing higher education. The prospect of little or no earnings growth for the next 20 years and inflation expanding has been reported widely (2) and confirms that the party is over for most of us.   The risk of spiralling debt will hold back many would-be students from lower income backgrounds. However there are some positive factors to consider first. Reasons to be cheerful…….. There are many factors for such students to consider even if they have little confidence in the future. There are some concessions that may help in settling the nerves and assist planning for a successful future.   It seems that raising the ‘Student Loans Repayment Threshold’ will cost £615m for the government by 2022/23. This will be offset to some degree by the ‘Tuition Fee Cap Freez

Can Scotland afford to be brave with student support and fees?

Testing the New Model Scottish Army uniform at the Edinburgh Festival . The support for students in Scotland is diverging far from that in England and this could be seen as a threat to the UK government and its political objectives.   The independent report for the Scottish Government: “ A New Social Contract for Students - Fairness, Parity and Clarity ”(1), out this week just before the budget, is welcome because it sets out the basic needs of an individual student. It makes no distinction with regard to support for the individual between Higher and Further Education. It also goes some way to seeking equality by defining a basic economic requirement for all students regardless of their background. Rich or poor we are all Homo sapiens with generally the same nutritional needs.  Even with some flawed assumptions apparent, it sets out a 'line in the sand' with regard to providing equal time and resources for students studying.  Students in the rest of the UK will take

The Budget and Student Fees: Give My Head Peace.

Students demonstrating to oppose a plan to remove the cap on fees in Belfast in 2011. Ironically, marching past the satirical ‘Give My Head Peace’ at the Opera House The government budget will be proclaimed in parliament on 22nd November 2017 (1) and there is considerable anticipation of possible U-turns on austerity. Leaks about their intentions for the NHS and housing have emerged in the last few days. How, or indeed if, student funding will be reformed remains uncertain. Needless to say, there has been a flurry of activity from various interested parties. The most likely outcome is that a major review will be announced. This is likely to be reported in time for the Conservative election manifesto in the New Year as another election looms. The student protests last week are very significant in this scenario; yet were relatively under reported for some reason. The Guardian (2) and New Statesman (3) were observant enoug