The South Belfast MLA stated: “I am calling on the Executive must act to stop students being dissuaded from going to university because of the fear of debt. As yet, no commitments have been made by the Executive to ease the burden of debt on our students.
“Alliance would help students by scrapping tuition fees. On top of that, we would let them repay current student loans over a longer period of time, with payment only having to begin when their salary is more than £23,000.
“We cannot allow a situation in which people are afraid to go to university because of financial worries. We are trying to promote skills and opportunities, therefore, why should there be such massive barriers to attaining third level qualifications.
“Over the past few months the Executive Ministers have made much of the need to create more high value jobs – To attract these jobs we need a strong skillbase. We must ensure that our local economy will not be put in jeopardy because people are afraid to go to college.
“For decades, the Northern Ireland economy suffered due to the ‘brain-drain.’ We must tackle student debt quickly to prevent a new form of ‘brain-drain.’
“Radical steps are needed to address the financial burden on students – I am calling on the Executive not to ignore this vitally important issue.”