Students to Hold National Week of Action to Stop the Privatisation of Student Debt

For Immediate Release

Students to Hold National Week of Action to Stop the Privatisation of Student Debt

WASHINGTON - Student activists from 50 campuses across the UK will next week join a national week of action from Monday 3 – Friday 7 February, supported by the NUS, to protest against the government’s plans to privatise the student loan book.

Student campaigners will be building opposition to the government’s intentions to sell off student debt to private companies before the next general election, which has caused widespread concern on campuses that this will lead to an increase in the financial burdens placed on students and graduates.

A secret report for the government has revealed that in order to make sure the student loan book is profitable for private companies the cap on interest for repayments would need to be increased or removed all together. 

Actions will take place on 50 campuses across the UK, including open air rallies, creative stunts, direct action and mass petitioning demanding that MPs pledge to oppose the student debt sell off.

The national movement to stop the sell off of student loans, which took off with a national day of action in November 2013 involving students from 25 campuses, has grown substantially in two months with twice as many campuses expected to take part in next week’s actions. 

NUS Black Students’ Officer and spokesperson for the Student Assembly Against Austerity which is co-ordinating the national week of action 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.  

“A new generation of students are getting active to stop the government in its tracks and the protests happening on campuses across the country next week will be a sign of things to come if the Tories & Lib Dems refuse to drop their disastrous plans to burden us with more debt.”

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."

Notes:
Please find the details of the 50 local actions taking place on the official Student Assembly Against Austerity facebook event here:  https://www.facebook.com/events/237473933084637/

In a speech to Parliament on 27 June 2013, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, announced the government’s plans to privatise the student loan book: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/speech-by-chief-secretary-to-the-treasury-danny-alexander-investing-in-britains-future

As part of the day of action students will be targeting MPs, demanding they sign the Early Day Motion in Parliament opposing the privatisation of student loan book: http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2013-14/542

On Friday 7 February, to end the national week of action the Student Assembly Against Austerity is holding a ‘debt in’ protest outside the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills from 2pm. Students will be marching down from SOAS, assembling at 12noon.

The Student Assembly Against Austerity is the student wing of the People’s Assembly Against Austerity.

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