University makes concessions on cuts

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The University has recently made significant concessions in relation to the recent announcement that tuition fees will be increased by as much as 40 percent for students studying part time.

The concessions were made in response to the St Andrews Against Cuts (STAND) campaign, which was run by students and staff members to fight the fee rise.

As a result the University has agreed to set up a scholarship scheme for part-time students which will ensure that as many eligible applicants as possible can gain entry without suffering financial hardship.

The University had already guaranteed that for current students the previous arrangements will apply until the completion of their studies. They have now guaranteed that the fee rise will not be enforced on entrant students who are eligible for an ILA (Individual Learning Account) to the value of £500. The scholarships will be awarded to cover the difference between the ILA 500 award and the new fee in the given year.

The scholarships will not necessarily be strictly limited to such students. Where a case can be made that financial difficulties would prevent an application proceeding, students earning more than the ILA maximum (currently £22,500) will be eligible for scholarship support.

While the 2,000 people who signed the STAND petition wanted the 40 percent increase scrapped altogether, some significant progress has be made to prevent a blanket 40 percent increase for everyone.

Patrick O’Hare, a student involved in the STAND campaign, says that “we are often told that raising our voice is useless because we will not be listened to, but this shows what can be done when students come together. Successful campaigning alongside staff again demonstrates that St Andrews students are not apathetic, but care about equal access to education.”

O’Hare also commended the University on its decision, and hopes that they have put widening access at the top of their agenda.

Siena Parker, Director of Representation at the Students’ Association, also approved of the concessions saying, “The Students’ Association has always championed the importance of widening access, and ensuring that the brightest and best students come to St Andrews regardless of their bank balance or background. No part time student has ever been prevented from coming to the University of St Andrews because of financial hardship, and I’m glad that this will continue to be the case.”

Kerry Nesbitt

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