Students to be ‘Crushed by debt’ outside BIS

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Students to be ‘crushed by debt’ outside department for Business, Innovation and Skills, 2pm Friday 7 February 2014.

Student activists protesting against the privatasation of student debt are to stage a ‘debt-in’ outside the department of Business, Innovation and Skills at 2pm on Friday, 7 of February. The creative protest will represent how millions of people would be crushed by piles of debt if the Government goes ahead with its plans.

It is part of national week of action to stop the student loan sell off, taking place from Monday 3 – Friday 7 February 2014. More than 50 campuses across the UK have taken part in the week of action, which has included occupations, mass petitioning and banner drops across the country. It is also supported by the NUS.

Students on campuses across the country are concerned that privitisation would lead to a further increase in the financial burden and debt placed on students and graduates following the leak of a secret report for the Government that revealed in order to make sure the student loan book profitable for private companies, the cap on interest for repayments would need to be increased or removed all together.

NUS Black Students’ Officer and spokesperson for the Student Assembly Against Austerity which is co-ordinating the national week of action and ‘debt-in’ said:

“The government’s plans to sell off the student loan book represents a massive attack on millions of people.

“We are clear that privatisation of student debt will lead to higher interest rates and therefore a higher burden of debt will be placed upon graduates. It is essentially a retrospective hike in the cost of tuition fees.

“Students and graduates will be literally crushed by debt if the Tories & Lib Dems refuse to drop their disastrous plans. This protest and the dozens of actions taking place this week across the country show that students are determined to stop the Government in its tracks. “

Marienna Pope-Weidemann, SOAS student and spokesperson for the Student Assembly Against Austerity added:

“This is a direct attack on public education: handing over the tuition fees they said they needed to fund education, into the hands of private corporations.

“The sell off of the student loan book will add to the financial burden of millions of graduates already struggling to make ends meet. And the potential for an exploding rate of debt will discourage poorer young people from applying to university in the future. Exploitation and privatisation is the face of austerity on campus – which the student wing of the People’s Assembly is building a movement to resist.”

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