Socialist Worker

Students march in debt protest

by Helen Salmon, NUS national executive (personal capacity)
Issue No. 1829

THOUSANDS OF students were set to join the National Union of Students march for 'grants, not fees' in central London on Wednesday this week. Students are angrier this term than I've ever seen them. Higher education is in crisis. The introduction of tuition fees and the abolition of the grant put many people off going to university and stuck the rest of us with an average £15,000 debt.

Labour suggested last year that it might get rid of fees and bring back grants. It promised a review into the issue. Now Tony Blair is talking about introducing top-up fees and a graduate tax as a way of paying for higher education.

This would create an even more elitist education system, where the rich go to the top universities and the poor are stuck at 'lesser' universities. Students are sick of Blair's hypocrisy on education, his attacks on the firefighters and his sucking up to George Bush.

There has been more militancy among students this year around the anti-war movement. Student participation at the anti-war protests has fed into the anti-fees protest.

ONE STUDENT not losing sleep over debt is Tony Blair's son Euan. Euan's parents have bought him a £250,000 flat to live in while he is studying at university. How many other students worrying about paying their way through college get a luxury flat courtesy of mummy and daddy?

Euan's present came to light when Sunday papers reported that a notorious conman had helped with the purchase.

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Article information

Sat 7 Dec 2002, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1829
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