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Uni places available for those who can pay higher fees?

The ecumenical Student Christian Movement (SCM) said today they are ‘appalled’ by the suggestion in the government’s forthcoming white paper that some universities should be allowed to make extra places available for students who can afford to pay tuition fees at an exceptionally high level.

SCM National Coordinator Hilary Topp said: “It is misleading to suggest that this scheme would increase social mobility.   It would create a two-tier admissions system in which the very rich would buy their university places, while the vast majority of the population would be excluded.  The overall increase in places would not lead to more students from lower-income families, given that the most elite universities already take most of their students from privileged backgrounds.”

Tim Stacey, an SCM member and student at The University of York said: “For us this is an issue of justice – access to higher education should be based on ability, not the ability to pay.  These proposals would promote privilege over fairness, and are clearly incompatible with Jesus’ message of radical inclusivity and justice.”

SCM have been vocal in their opposition to government plans to allow universities to increase tuition fees to up to £9,000 per year. The Movement insists that they will deter potential students from poorer backgrounds from applying to university.  SCM has participated in demonstrations against the increase and has spoken in favour of nonviolent direct action against fees.

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