Committee anger at Minsiter over student fee rise proposal
COMMITTEE ANGER AT MINISTER OVER STUDENT FEE RISE PROPOSAL
Proposals to increase student fees have angered Members of the Education and Learning Committee. The Committee expressed its concern to the Minister, Sir Reg Empey, that a review on Departmental proposals to increase the fees for the next academic year will disadvantage students from low income homes.
Committee Chairperson, Sue Ramsey MLA explained, "Nearly a year ago we proposed a motion opposing any increase in student fees and, though the motion was narrowly defeated, the Minister promised to hold a review of variable fees and student finance.
"The Committee is astonished to learn today that only now has the Minister written to a potential Chairperson to see if they would take the post and outlining Terms of Reference for such a review.
Committee Members also expressed their unease at the timing of the proposed rises, raising tuition when so many families are struggling to make ends meet in the economic downturn.
Sue Ramsey said, "Recently the Minister announced measures to help apprentices who have been made redundant. Now the Minister is talking about increasing tuition fees next year-does he not wonder where families will find the extra money in these difficult times?"