Thursday, 3 November 2011

Councillor Wins Fight For A Fairer Deal For Part-Time Students

Following a determined campaign from Cambridgeshire County Councillor Dr Belinda Brooks-Gordon, the Government has just announced that it will now give part-time university students a fairer deal under the government's education loans scheme.

She  teamed up with Baroness Sal Brinton, former Cambridgeshire County Council Liberal Democrat leader to make sure part-time students are not discriminated under the scheme.

From 2012 eligible part-time students will be able to borrow the full cost of their tuition fees for the first time. Changes announced today will see students becoming eligible to start making repayments over four years after commencing study, up from three years as previously planned.

Cllr Brooks-Gordon and Baroness Brinton who were both mature students at Cambridge’s Churchill College, fought to get changes to the Education Bill. They were tireless in their campaign, relentlessly pursuing the matter with Minister.

“I was determined that part-time students, many of whom are single parents, mature students or disabled, should not be discriminated against in the loans system” said Dr Brooks-Gordon, a Reader at Birkbeck, University of London and past tutor at the Open University.

“I took my degree as a single parent with two children and would not have had an academic career without my university education. I was determined that students should get the best possible deal in these difficult times.”

"It is an important and life-changing decision for students to embark on a degree. I am delighted that the Minister has acknowledged our campaign and finally relented to make loan repayments for part-time students more progressive"

"Part-time students make up 40% of undergraduates, and Cambridge is national hotspot for part-time students including Anglia Ruskin, the Open University, and Cambridge University"

"We have fought all the way to support the educational journey of these students, and are delighted to have secured a real victory for their sake"
Baroness Brinton said: "I'm delighted that after four months of lobbying, the Minister has finally accepted the logic of making the fee loan repayments for part-time students the same as for full-time students. It was always bizarre that Government proposed that part-time students were being asked to start repaying at 3½ years.

“It was clear when I made the case repeatedly in the House of Lords that the Government’s original proposal was bizarre and illogical, and my thanks to the universities for giving me good examples to help make the case. I’m grateful that the Minister has recognised this, and changed the arrangements so that they are now the same as for full-time students.”