Flanagan calls for postgraduate loan scheme as matter of priority
Sinn Féin MLA Phil Flanagan has welcomed an indication from Employment and Learning Minister Stephen Farry that his department is currently considering the introduction of a loan scheme for postgraduate students.
Mr Flanagan was speaking after he raised the issue with Minister Farry in the Assembly.
The Fermanagh & South Tyrone MLA said:
"I welcome the Minister’s assurance his Department is currently considering the introduction of a postgraduate loans scheme for students living in the north and EU-domiciled students resident in the north.
"Students’ unions have been lobbying for such a scheme since 2012. In the existing system only those who are fortunate enough to have thousands of pounds available upfront can go onto postgraduate study.
"Many students are left with no option but to pay for these fees with a credit card or with other forms of expensive finance with repayments expected immediately and not once the earnings of the student crosses a reasonable threshold as is the case with undergraduate loans.
"I urge the minister to explore this loan scheme as soon as possible so that the necessary legislation can be brought forward to allow students interested in pursuing postgraduate education to benefit from it."