Cllr Naomi Long has called for an end to tuition fees and is calling for assurances from the Government that top-up fees will not be introduced for Northern Ireland students.
Proposing a motion at the Alliance Party Conference, she also called for the abolition of tuition fees and the introduction of additional targeted bursaries aimed at increasing participation by those from low-income backgrounds, mature students, people with disabilities and single parents.
She said, “Alliance is utterly opposed to the introduction of top-up fees for students, which are due to be introduced in England and Wales. These fees of up to £3,000 per year will vary depending upon the status of the university and will disproportionately affect students enrolling on longer courses such as medicine and architecture.
“This will create a two-tier education system, with those only those who can afford the highest fees being able to pursue the careers of their choice at the best universities. Access to university will be controlled by ability to pay and not academic ability and students will be saddled with additional post-graduation debt.”