The South Belfast MLA stated: “I am re-issuing our on the Executive to take action to prevent students being put off going to university because of the threat of debt.
“The Assembly has been up and running for 100 days now and as yet, no commitments have been made to ease the burden of debt on local students.
“Alliance have pledged to assist students by ending tuition fees. Another way in which we would alleviate this problem is by letting 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.
“Since the return of devolution, Executive Ministers have made much of the need to create more high value jobs – To attract these jobs we need a well-educated workforce. We must ensure that our local economy will not be put at risk because people are afraid to go into third level education.
“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.’
“Urgent action is needed to examine and act on reducing the financial burden on students – I am reiterating my call on the Executive not to ignore this extremely important issue.”