Queen’s Alliance Chair Michael Bower has slammed the DUP UUP and some Sinn Fein MLAs for their decision to back Reg Empey’s plan to raise student fees from £3070 to £3145 for the 2008/2009 academic year. He said “All the parties were against introducing top-up fees to Northern Ireland but it appears now some of them have had a change in heart. The vote was taken on Monday in the Assembly chamber.
Michael Bower said: “Student fees add considerable financial burden onto students in an area which has been recognised to be one of the most expensive places to live as a student in the UK. They undoubtedly put people from low income backgrounds off going to university. This destroys the concept of equality of opportunity.
“This Assembly vote has shown some parties true colours on this important issue.
He added: “We are told that this increase will give the universities an extra £2.5 million. However considering Northern Ireland spends £1.5 billion each year in order to maintain segregation, it is clear that the Executive is more concerned with maintaining a divided society than investing in students’ futures.”