Aston University unites with other West Midlands Universities to support the abolition of tuition fees

14 November 2001

Aston University unites with other West Midlands Universities to support the abolition of tuition fees

ASTON University will be taking part in the National Union of Students' West Midlands Regional Rally 'Invest in education: Grants not fees' on Thursday November 15th 2001. It is the first of these rallies to be carried out throughout the UK over the coming year.

The rally will commence at Aston with students meeting on Aston Street at 13.00. They will then proceed to Victoria Square at 14.30, where they will join with all the other universities throughout the West Midlands to officially commence the rally. Various leading people from throughout the West Midlands, including Aston's own Secretary -Registrar David Packham, will give speeches, along with Owain James (NUS National President).

The Regional Rallies are part of the National Union of Students' "Invest in Education" campaign, which addresses three main areas; investment in Institutions, ending student hardship and debt, and maintaining standards. The NUS is committed to the abolition of tuition fees and welcomes the recent Rees inquiry in Wales.

NUS president Owain James stated that '...The removal of grants has caused the greatest hardship on the poorest students...'.

Steve Watson President of Aston University's Student Guild also commented " Clearly the campaign against tuition fees has gained substantial momentum of late and I feel Aston must play a key role in driving the abolishment of up-front fees. The government has stated that a review of the current funding system will take place in the coming months, thus the Regional Rally is of utmost importance and it is essential that all Aston students participate. This is a great opportunity for every student at Aston to play a key role in returning grants and abolishing fees. Logistically, Aston will play a pivotal role so we must reinforce this with full student attendance".

Aston's Secretary-Registrar, David Packham, said: "The Government's review of financial support arrangements for students hopefully shows that they have recognised some of the deficiencies of the present system. Now is precisely the right time to demonstrate the views of students and many of us in the wider HE community in favour of more equitable arrangements which will facilitate, and not impede, the wider participation in HE that the Government itself and many of us are seeking".

This rally promises to be a memorable occasion, and is expected to finish by 16.00. Following the rally an evening event is also talking place at Aston.


For further information please call 0121 204 4549 or email: b.a.l.coombes@aston.ac.uk

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