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Ógra Shinn Féin concerned at drop in University applications

14 June, 2007

Shinn Féin Uladh College Co-ordinater Michál Harkin, has said he is 'concerned but not surprised' that the number of applications for university places has fallen in the north, by 4.8% in the last year. He was speaking after it was revealed that student's loans for English, Welsh, Scottish and Universities' in the North has passed the 3 billion pound mark.

Mr Harkin said,

"We in Ógra Shinn Féin have opposed the introduction of Top Up fees at universities. We said that this would create a system whereby financial income and background would determine educational success. Top Up fees are deterring a lot of teenagers' and school leavers' from attending university. The effects of such a move will be noticed years down the road and not immediately."

"Indeed just yesterday similar fees were abolished in Scotland. Now that the institutions are up and running in the north of Ireland I believe that the same should happen here."

"The cost of living amongst students is very high and many have to work very unreasonable hours to pay bills let alone get an education. On behalf of Ógra Shinn Féin, we believe Education is a right, and we are calling on the unfair Top Up system to be abolished in the north of Ireland. Its effects, whilst not apparent now will become clear in the years ahead if such a barrier to education remains."ENDS /deireadh

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