Naomi Long MP said: “I will be voting against the proposals which will be put to Parliament, as I do not believe that they represent a fair or appropriate way to fund higher education. Raising the fees cap to £9000 will potentially putting a university education beyond the reach of many students and could lead to students choosing courses based on the size of their bank balance and not their ability. I also believe that the swingeing cuts to tuition fees will have a detrimental impact upon the universities and the range of courses which they offer. The transfer of responsibility for funding teaching almost entirely to students also fails to reflect that, whilst the student may be the main beneficiary of a degree, society as a whole also benefits.
“Whilst I accept that changes to the repayments mechanism will potentially be fairer under the proposals, particularly for those on lower incomes, I do not believe that as a whole the proposals are in the interests of students or universities. Even the recent changes which could lead to the poorest students getting free tuition for up to two years, whilst potentially an improvement, remain poorly defined and have failed to convince me that they outweigh the negatives.”