Ulster University's pro chancellor Robert Hanna

April 9, 1999

* Ulster University's pro chancellor Robert Hanna said Northern Ireland, its economy and young people are at a distinct disadvantage compared with those in Great Britain. The province had a serious imbalance in the number of university places when compared with other parts of the UK.

Speaking at the university court, Mr Hanna said the province's gross domestic product per head was only 80 per cent of the European Union average, placing it among the EU's poorest regions.

"Social security benefits are the second most important source of household income," he said. "The benefits of participation in higher education are critical to the prosperity of our community, yet a third of local full-time undergraduate students are studying outside Northern Ireland."

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