Alliance angry that Empey is holding students to ransom

Alliance Youth Secretary Michael Bower has berated the Minister for Employment and Learning Reg Empey’s plans to increase student tuition fees by £80.

Michael Bower said, “This will be yet another financial burden on students and will hit people from families from low to middle income backgrounds hard. Instead of helping our students, Reg Empey is holding them to ransom. For those who have to pay their own way through university, this is a total kick in the teeth. It also adds increasing pressure on parents who have saved what little money they have throughout their lives to enable their sons and daughters to go through third level education.

“These increases will lead to the situation where students have to work even more hours to fund their way through university to the total detriment of their studies: the reason why they go to university in the first place. We want to see an end to tuition fees as they are totally unfair and they diminish the prospects of our young people.

“Given the current dismal economic climate, increasing the financial burden on those who are struggling the most is completely out of order. I call on the Minister to reconsider his plans to increase fees and urgently reconsider the entire tuition fee structure.”

Chair of Queen’s University Alliance Mark Bailie said: “The Executive should look at ways of redirecting part of the £1.5 billion spent on maintaining segregation each year in Northern Ireland to remove the burden of these unfair fees from students.”


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