The Students’ Union’s Postgraduate Education Officer Rose Taylor has won the support of a local Conservative Party MP on the issue of the postgraduate loan age cap.
Currently, only students under the age of 30 can apply for loans to cover the cost of a Masters degrees, meaning mature students have to pay for their Masters at the point of access. Amber Rudd, the Tory MP for Hastings and Rye, agreed with Taylor and Undergraduate Education Officer Bethan Hunt over the principle that “students [should] not need to pay upfront for tuition”, and promised to pass Hunt’s concerns to the Secretary of State for Universities and Science, Jo Johnson.
Johnson is the brother of London Mayor Boris. Taylor and Hunt have also managed to win the “full” support of both Caroline Lucas, Green Party MP for the Brighton Pavilion constituency, and new Labour MP for Hove, Peter Kyle. However, Postgraduate Education Officer Rose Taylor warned that, while the support was welcomed, it would “not be enough” to overturn the government’s ideological status quo on higher education policy. The Conservatives, alongside their Liberal Democrat coalition partners, tripled tuition fees from £3,000 to £9,000 per year back in 2010, creating backlash on campuses.
Taylor has been promoting the London Free Education march, which will be held on Wednesday 4 November. Travel to the protest is being subsidised by the Students’ Union—unlike the climate-change demonstration in Paris (see front page). On her Facebook, Taylor wrote: “It is great that the student movement has allies like this in government; however, sadly this will not be enough to stop education becoming a privilege that only some people can afford”.
Image: Wikimedia Commons