Scottish students drop grants-only support

March 24, 1995

The National Union of Students in Scotland has radically shifted its position on student support and is no longer pressing for grant-only funding.

At its annual conference last weekend in Stirling, delegates backed a motion opposing tuition fees and other "up-front" contributions as discriminating against those who could not afford to pay. But they agreed to consider other means of attracting funding into education, and did not rule out contributions from graduates.

Douglas Trainer, Scottish president of NUS, said the union would consider ways of consulting students directly on contributions, and might hold a referendum.

"Conference overwhelmingly felt it was time to get out and ask students what they thought. Too often the debate has only involved those at the top of the education system and not the grass roots."

But the conference warned that a solution "thrashed out" in Scotland would fail to address the problems faced by students elsewhere in the United Kingdom, and called on Mr Trainer to press NUS UK for similar action.

*Donald Leach, principal of Edinburgh's Queen Margaret College, this week called on Government to introduce tuition fees for all students and enable them to borrow money through an income-contingent loan.

Professor Leach said in a professorial address that this would remove the artificial barriers by which Government controlled student numbers.

Repayments should be linked to national insurance contributions, he suggested.

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