Government plans to control university numbers by limiting student loans to those who achieve certain GCSE grades have been branded “classist, ableist and racist”.
The proposed reforms would see students who do not do not achieve English and maths GCSEs, or two A-levels at grade E, denied a student loan, and therefore only able to attend university if they have another way to pay the fees, such as parental wealth.
The plans have been widely criticised by unions, youth charities and students as restricting opportunities to those who can afford them, and placing further barriers on higher education for people from poorer backgrounds.
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“Plans for eligibility requirements to access student loans are an attack on working class learners and fly in the face of the levelling up-agenda,” said UCU general secretary Jo Grady.
The announcements suggest the government appears “determined to shut the door on those it thinks aren’t worthy of going to university,” she continued.
“These proposals are classist, ableist and racist: they target those from marginalised communities, and seek to gatekeep education,” said Larissa Kennedy, president of the National Union of Students. “This is nothing more than an attack on opportunity.”