Anderson fears over rise in student debt
Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Martina Anderson has voiced serious concerns about the rising number of students going to University who are facing increased levels of debt on graduation.
Martina Anderson said:
"In the next few days hundreds of students in Derry will be receiving their A Level results and making plans to go to university. I want to extend my congratulations to all of these students who will be the academic, business, political and social leaders of the future. Reaching their present level of education is an achievement in itself and every student should be proud to have completed their courses.
"One of the major considerations for students in deciding what course or university they attend on many occasions is now being decided by cost and family affordability rather than ability or vocation.
"Many students are worried about the financial cost of going to university.The report published this week by the Push Students Debt Survey exposed the massive levels of debt that students could find themselves owing after graduation - in excess of £20,000 for many.
"We can't have an education system where students from low income families are being disenfranchised from university education because it is beyond the affordability of their families.
"Sinn Féin has campaigned against student fees believing education should be a right not an optional extra depending on your financial situation. Over the past few years student fees have increased and universities are again becoming the preserve of the wealthy. This is unacceptable.
"While many may adopt the attitude that this issue does not affect them, they are wrong. It will have an adverse effect of the economy and social conditions in future years through the loss to society of the talents and vision of these young people who are denied the opportunity to develop educationally.
"The result will be an incalculable cost to society by denying these young people the opportunity to contribute to their full potential. If this issue is not dealt with now then we will continue to pay into the future for our short-termism and lack of vision.