Prince's poverty remarks praised

June 6, 2003

St Andrews University's students association has welcomed Prince William's highlighting of student hardship in an interview marking his 21st birthday, writes Olga Wojtas.

The prince, who is finishing his second year at St Andrews, said students had "just cause" to be worried about the burden of student loans and fees.

He said he knew there were sensitive issues around student funding since he listened to what went on.

A Buckingham Palace spokes-person said the prince would not elaborate on his comments.

Rory O'Hare, president of St Andrews students' association, confirmed that the prince would see evidence of fellow students facing funding problems.

He said St Andrews' image of privileged backgrounds and "silver spoons" was not accurate, and that many students faced difficulties.

"Housing prices are very high because [St Andrews] is a very small town and local businesses can't support 6,000 students looking for part-time jobs," he said. "The hardship fund is pressed every year."

Mr O'Hare said student funding issues always seemed to "slip down the agenda" in public debate.

"If any one student is highlighting these and bringing them to the fore of the debate, it's very welcome," he said.

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