Wednesday 03-12-2014 - 14:38
Today the Government announced its intention to introduce a postgraduate loan scheme for students under the age of 30. This is a huge step in the right direction, and certainly a major campaign win for NUS and students’ unions.
NUS and students' unions have been lobbying for such a scheme since 2012, when we launched our postgraduate funding proposals. We have been working with a coalition of partners, including Centre Forum, campaigning for postgraduate loans.
Along with students’ unions, we have been persistent in ensuring that financial barriers are removed from access to postgraduate study, and have been central in developing the conversation and lobbying decision makers across the country. However, there is still certainly more to be done to make sure that post-graduate education is truly accessible, as the government’s proposals that the new loans system will only be available to students under 30 years old is deeply unfair to mature students.
The proposal to develop a system of postgraduate loans is one of the New Deal general election asks, and so it is fantastic to see that the work that we are building is already leading to real wins. NUS and students’ unions will now be working closely to build on this early success, improving on the policy to ensure that it is truly open to all.
Today’s announcement is a major step in the right direction – we know the current system is an abject failure, and presents a major barrier to many who would otherwise choose to study at post graduate level. Creating a government-backed postgraduate loans scheme will make a fundamental difference to the lives and opportunities of students, and we will be fighting hard to make sure that all students can benefit from this, regardless of age. Toni Pearce & Megan Dunn will be meeting with Vince Cable and Greg Clarke next week to discuss the consultation process further, and we will be distributing further information shortly on building this work as part of the New Deal general election campaign.