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There has been some big news this week regarding student fees and funding in higher education, with the Prime minister announcing a “freeze” on undergraduate tuition fees at £9,250 a year until 2019. This was presented alongside plans to increase the repayment threshold (the income level where graduates in England begin repaying their student loan) from £21,000 to £25,000 a year and the possibility of a return to maintenance grants.      

On the surface these substantial claims seem like a welcomed development and finally a reason to rejoice. However, replacing the proposed inflationary yearly increases with the cap has left many students, including myself, rather confused to why fees that were only just increased merely weeks ago are being supposedly frozen now and labelled as “revolutionary” by some media outlets.  Yet again, we are faced with changes attempting to silence students into believing that the government is taking sufficient action to address the shambles that is the current tuition fees system.

Whilst we recognise that a higher repayment threshold is a positive step and will see low-earning graduates, in particular, benefitting immediately, this is simply not enough. Since the trebling of fees in 2012, students have been failed by the system and much more needs to be done to ensure accessible education that does not leave students burdened with debt. Here at Students’ Union UCL we pledge to continue the fight against further fee rises and work to ensure that students are never disadvantaged in pursuing higher education.

Postgraduate Students’ Officer Mark Crawford and I will soon be launching our joint campaign to tackle the additional course costs problem so that students are not paying for unnecessary items that we believe should be covered by your tuition fee. We want you to get involved and tell us about what extra costs you have faced since starting your course so keep a look out on our website for further details!