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"NUS secretly urged Government to make deep cuts in student grants" Watch

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    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education...nt-grants.html

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    The National Union of Students secretly urged the Coalition to make deep cuts in student grants and charge market rates of interest on student loans, according to leaked emails.

    The disclosure is likely to cause discord within the union, which has led opposition to Government plans to allow tuition fees to rise to £9,000 a year.

    After high-profile protests by student groups, some Liberal Democrat and Conservative MPs are expected to oppose the Coalition plans in a key Commons vote tonight. The vote comes as around 20,000 students and lecturers prepare to descend on London today for the biggest protest march so far against the tuition fee rises. There are fears that anarchist groups and violent yobs are planning to hijack the protests and “shut down” the capital.

    The NUS has helped focus student anger and Aaron Porter, its president, has been the Coalition’s most vocal critic, frequently accusing ministers of betraying students.

    The Daily Telegraph has seen emails from Mr Porter and his team in which the NUS leadership urged ministers to cut grants and loans as an alternative to raising tuition fees.

    In private talks in October, the NUS tried to persuade ministers at the Department for Business to enact their planned 15 per cent cut in higher education funding without lifting the cap on fees.

    In one email to the department’s officials, dated Oct 1, Mr Porter suggested that £800?million should be “deducted from the grants pot” over four years. That would cut total spending on grants by 61 per cent. Mr Porter also proposed the “introduction of a real rate of interest” for student loans.

    In an email the following day, Graeme Wise, an NUS political officer, suggested that ministers seeking cuts should start with the “student support” package of grants and loans.

    He wrote: “It would be better in our view to first mitigate the cuts to provision by seeing how student support can be better focused at lower cost.” Mr Wise also suggested that the cuts in support could be imposed on students currently at university.

    The NUS plans also called for £2.4?billion to be cut from the universities’ teaching budget over four years, a reduction of 48 per cent.

    A Coalition source said the emails undermined the union’s credibility, saying: “It’s astonishing that Aaron Porter and the NUS should attack the Government’s proposals for being unfair when they propose to drastically cut support for low-income students.” Mr Porter said yesterday: “We were asked by Dr Cable [Vince Cable, Liberal Democrat Business Secretary] to demonstrate how fees could be kept at current levels and on the basis of his request we produced modelling to show how that could be done.

    “NUS has consistently advocated the abolition of tuition fees and the introduction of a graduate tax, which remains Liberal Democrat party policy.”

    Last night David Cameron made a late attempt to persuade wavering Conservative and Lib Dem MPs to back his plans for higher tuition fees. He delivered a hastily arranged speech to try to shore up Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister. The Lib Dem leader has faced a stream of criticism for his broken promise on tuition fees.

    Ian Grigg-Spall, a law professor from Kent, has called for Mr Clegg to be prosecuted for fraud over pledging before the election to oppose a rise while his party was allegedly planning to abandon the promise.

    Mr Clegg yesterday told Chris Huhne, the Energy Secretary, to stay at the international climate change talks in Cancun, even though his absence will cost the Government a vote on tuition fees on Thursday night.

    Sources close to Mr Clegg said he had decided that Mr Huhne’s role was too important for him to be pulled out of the summit.


    Oh my.
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    http://www.nusconnect.org.uk/news/article/6001/1173/ is the response
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    These guys on crack? cutting grants is worse than raising tuition fees. At least the government loans are there to cover tuition fees. Then again considering it's the daily mail I have the sneaking feeling something has been lost in translation here.
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    Should be no harm in releasing the emails if nothing of the sort was said then.

    If true, their ideas are much worse for the 'poor' they say they are trying to help go to University.
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    (Original post by -Aaron-)
    Should be no harm in releasing the emails if nothing of the sort was said then.

    If true, their ideas are much worse for the 'poor' they say they are trying to help go to University.
    Nothing stopping you sending an FoI request to BIS http://www.bis.gov.uk/site/foi
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    Noooooo raise tuition fees leave the loans alone and "my precious" grant
 
 
 
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