Students protest at tuition fees hike

STUDENTS from Essex University yesterday demonstrated against increases to tuition fees by marching to the Vice Chancellor's office and chanting.The Government is considering making changes to higher education funding by increasing tuition fees to up to £3,000 which would be paid back by students through the tax system once they have graduated.

By Juliette Maxam

STUDENTS from Essex University yesterday demonstrated against increases to tuition fees by marching to the Vice Chancellor's office and chanting.

The Government is considering making changes to higher education funding by increasing tuition fees to up to £3,000 which would be paid back by students through the tax system once they have graduated.

The Vice Chancellor, Ivor Crewe, has cautiously welcomed the plans to charge students more for higher education as a "least-bad compromise".

But Essex University Students' Union is against the proposals as they fear it would create a two-tier higher education system.

Yesterday, about 20 students marched up to Mr Crewe's office, carrying banners and chanting in protest at his support of the proposals.

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Student Union spokesman Gareth Oughton said: "The whole purpose of the Government's higher education funding review was to open up higher education to the masses, not just to the rich.

"What they're going to do is create an elitist education system in which the rich will be able to shop for a degree and the poor will have to go wherever they can afford. So it will be education for the rich and not for the masses."

Mr Crewe was not at the university yesterday, but a university spokeswoman said: "The University understands students' concerns and fears about increased levels of debt. However, current funding arrangements have left British universities desperately under-funded and if unchanged would result in a serious deterioration of standards.

"The University believes that most students and parents will recognise that a university education remains a good long-term investment."

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