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Taking action in higher education

Students' dreams dashed by unfit financial service

14 February 2008 | last updated: 14 December 2015

UCU said today it was not surprised a complex system of bursaries and grants and fears over debt were putting students from poor backgrounds off university. The union also warned that many students had to compromise or give up their dreams because they could not afford to move away to university to study their preferred course.

Commenting on the Knowing where to Study? Fees, Bursaries and Fair Access report, commissioned by the Sutton Trust, UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'The complicated system of bursaries, grants and fees is no doubt confusing many students and their parents, and is clearly not working. It should not come as a surprise that debt is putting young people off applying to university.

'The current policy of sentencing students to record levels of debt is in desperate need of a rethink, something next year's fees review must address. Our own research reveals that students hoping to study close to home may well have their options severely restricted. It is simply not acceptable that the increased cost of going to university means that students unable to, or unwilling to, build up huge debt levels may have to abandon their dreams.'

The UCU reports Degrees of Decline and Losing Our Tongues looked at the decline in science and language courses respectively across the country and can be found on the news page UCU reports reveal areas of UK with dearth of degrees.

Also see UCU responds to university applications figures for UCU comments on today's student applications figures.