Monday 10-08-2015 - 12:34
This is a guest article by Isaac Leigh, President at Warwick University Students’ Union
At Warwick University, we think that scrapping maintenance grants is a direct attack on students from low income backgrounds. Maintenance grants provide vital support for over half a million students.
Replacing them with a loans-based system (that is proven to be highly inefficient) simply saddles students with yet more debt, when what they need, more than ever, is robust support.
Education should not, and must not, solely be for the privileged. Young people who dream of careers as ground-breaking scientists, successful writers or politicians should not have these dreams crushed because of the cost of higher education. A better-educated society is a better-functioning society – so why is the government making higher education increasingly inaccessible?
Students should not be spending all their free time working so that they have enough money to live. Students should not be scraping the barrel in order to eat. Students should not be deterred from applying to university in the first place because of the ever-increasing level of debt they will accrue at the other end.
The cold, harsh reality is that, if maintenance grants are scrapped, students from low-income backgrounds may be fatally deterred from applying to University.
I’ve written to our local MP, Chris White, asking to meet as soon as possible, because he is someone of significant influence who can push to have this issue debated fully in Parliament. If we all do this, we can raise the profile of #CutTheCosts even further.
If NUS uses its collective voice – from full-time officers to sabbatical officers, and crucially the massive nationwide student body – we can try and overturn what would be a terrible mistake.
How is your students’ union supporting the #CutTheCosts campaign to save maintenance grants? We’d love to promote your work to the membership on NUS Connect - simply get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us what you’re doing on campus!