Kent Union have called for “formal student representation” on the advisory panel supporting the review into tuition fees, student finance and educational funding.
Prime Minister Theresa May announced this week that an independent education chair and panel will be conducting a year-long review that will be considering all aspects of post-18 education funding. This will include the price of tuition fees, and whether or not maintenance grants should be reintroduced to poorer students to help with living costs.
Other areas that the review will examine will include the interest rates charged on student loans (currently standing at 6.1%) as well as considering how career guidance could be improved to give young people clearer information about future earning potential in certain career paths.
Responding to the announcement on the Kent Union’s Website, President Ruth Wilkinson said that the Government’s review into tuition fees should aim to “focus on the key issues for students, past, present and future” and that student’s should be given a seat on the panel looking into the issues facing them at this moment of time.
She wrote: “Here at Kent we’re concerned not only about high tuition fees but the interest rates graduates are paying on that debt, and the lack of maintenance support available for students to help them live while they study. We want to see formal student representation on the advisory panel informing the review. Undergraduate fees aren’t the only issues faced by students, work also needs to be done to consider Postgraduate fees and maintenance as well as support for part-time and mature students.”
Ms May has also been under increasing pressure to tackle tuition fees from critics such as those within the Labour party, whose pledge to scrap tuition fees and reintroduce maintenance loans during the 2017 General Election campaign was seen as one of the key reasons why many young people voted for the party.
The Conservative government pledged to freeze the top rate of tuition fees at £9,250 last year, but many critics believe that more needs to be done to solve the multiple issues students have to cope with.
In a speech in Derby, The PM called for ‘better value for money’ degrees for students in England who study at university, but did rule out scrapping tuition fees universally, saying that those “who benefit directly from higher education should contribute directly towards the cost of it”. She insisted that scrapping fees would push up taxes, which will mean limiting the number of university places.