Liverpool students braved the rain and cold to campaign for a fairer funding system and against planned tuition fee increases.

 

About 300 students from LJMU, Edge Hill University, Hope University, Chester University and University of Liverpool gathered at different points of the city at four o’clock for ‘the running of the debt’.

 

Coming together at St George’s Hall, a flash mob chanted away forming ‘the wall of debt’ in front of the historic building. A debate took place in the Town Hall afterwards where MPs and other important officials were present to listen to student concerns.

 

Darren McCabe, Local Campus Organiser for NUS, said: “Running of the debt involved five unions gathering in different parts of the city. We had people dressed up in green head to toe meeting at St George's Hall for the flash mob.”

 

This event is the first in a series of ‘Town Takeovers’ happening this month and next throughout the country. The national campaign is part of the NUS ‘Funding Our Future’ initiative.

 

Many students starting university expect to graduate with better employment protects, but instead they face an average debt of £23,000 as the government plans to increase top-up fees from £3,300 to as much as £10,000 per year.  Through this campaign, NUS hopes that the ‘broken system for funding education’ will be improved upon at government reviews.

 

Plans to raise tuition fees and freeze maintenance grants came in July after figures were published revealing that more young students from poor backgrounds are going to university than ever before.

 

The surge in student numbers and those applying from the poorest homes had left a £200m 'black hole' in the student finance system which now needs to be filled or bankrolled somehow.

 

Wendy Piatt, Director General of the Russell Group, which represents 20 leading universities, said: "There is a growing consensus that without increased investment, there is a real danger that the success of our world-leading universities will not be sustained. In a difficult economic climate there is even greater urgency to find additional funding."

 

Rising tuition fees could disadvantage young people throughout the country as Wes Streeting, NUS President, said: “NUS is mobilizing students up and down the country to ensure we realise the collective power of millions of students across Britain, sending a simple message to politicians: they won’t get away with keeping higher education off the general election agenda.”  

 

Students protest for fairer funding system

By Sam Rogers, Website Editor & Kelly Cornwell, JMU Journalism TV

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YouTube: Kelly Cornwell's video report; the protest against tuition fee rises outside St George's Hall

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