The students: 'the white paper will stunt lives'

January 23, 2003

Lucy Gledhill , 17, a pupil at the Bradford Girls' Grammar School, said it would be a shame if students opted for shorter courses as a result of higher fees.

"This might end up changing what students decide to study but at least the extra funds will enable universities to improve their research and teaching facilities," she said.

Ms Gledhill, who has a place at Cambridge University to read biology, said she believed charging students more for their higher education was fair given that they would benefit from their degrees and earn more money as a result.

Kelly Hall is 19 and currently on a foundation course for art and design at Leicester College. She hopes to go to university this September.

"I am so relieved that I am going before the changes are introduced," she said. "I could not face a debt of £9,000 just for tuition fees and would simply not go."

She is eligible to pay the current tuition fee and her parents have offered to pay it. "But I will have to support myself and I am already worried about the level of debt that will mean," she said.

She recently looked at courses at Kingston University. "The course looked wonderful, but the first response of my family was that I could not afford to live in London," she said. "The white paper will make things even worse."

Ms Hall has a sister who also  plans to go to university. "It is such a strain on families if more than one child wants to go to university. Even if you don't have to repay the fees until later, it is still a worry for parents," she said.

Sarbjit Kaur is 23. She, too, is on the foundation course for art and design at Leicester.

"Why are they putting the fees up so much?" she asked.

"Art and design involves three years for your degree and then another two years to specialise. How can anyone afford that?"

She said the white paper would "stunt" lives.

"Few people will want to get into that sort of debt, it will stop them getting mortgages and getting on with their lives. A degree just won't be worth it," she said.


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