Ahead of students receiving their A-Level results tomorrow, NUS-USI President Adrianne Peltz has said it is crucial that drastic cuts proposed for health bursaries and Education Maintenance Allowance are stopped so that people are encouraged to continue their studies. She questioned how government thinks people can plan for their future career if significant cuts are made to student support.
President of NUS-USI, Adrianne Peltz, said: “The Executive needs to realise that people cannot make a positive decision on what their next step will be if they are facing cuts in student support and don’t know how much money they will have to live on. This presently applies to people that might be applying for either Education Maintenance Allowance or health bursaries, and the proposed cuts to both could have a devastating impact on students.
“There are thousands of young people getting results around Northern Ireland at this time. They should be very proud of their achievements, and they have hopes and dreams of their career ahead. These dreams could lie in tatters for many people if the cuts which are proposed for EMA and health bursaries are implemented. It is absolutely essential that adequate financial support is provided to enable people to continue in education or training and reach their potential. Cutting health bursaries could have a very negative impact upon our health service and could significantly discourage people from studying nursing and midwifery. The cuts proposed for EMA could force many people between the ages of 16-19 to quit their studies or simply not enrol in the first place, as they would not be able to make ends meet.
“Many people receiving their A-Level results could miss out on third level education due to the recent trend of universities inflating their grade requirements. This is leaving many in a very difficult position and is an issue of real concern that must be addressed urgently by government. People should also remember that some of the students getting their A-Level results now will comprise the first intake paying £9,000 fees at many universities in England. The financial burden being placed on these students is grossly unfair and one of the consequences of the high fees has been a large reduction in the number of people from here applying to universities in England.
“Investment in student support is crucial to upskill our future workforce and help build our economy for the future. Government must demonstrate more vision and re-think their current plans on health bursaries and EMA, as the consequences could be devastating not only for students but for our economy too.”