Increased tuition fees firmly on the minds of students

Disappointing results do not mean all doors are closed

Exam results are due in the coming weeks.

As the A-Levels results are looming, Fermanagh students are eagerly anticipating what their future holds. 
The recent speculation that student tuition fees may increase, will be firmly on the mind of Fermanagh’s students.
Queen’s University have recently said that they could charge up to £6,300 a year for third level education. At present, students currently pay £3,925 to study in Northern Ireland, and an increase in fees to the speculated amount would have a damaging impact on the students’ future. The reason for the possible increase in fees is due to inflation and the reduction public funding available.
Josh McCrae from Fermanagh Youth Council is currently waiting on his A-Level results and his first choice university is Ulster University, Coleraine. 
“There is every possibility that the fees increasing will affect me and my friends. From what I understand the degree of increase will depend on the funding provided by the public purse which is being stretched already, so I am quite pessimistic in expecting the maximum possible increase which would put a lot more pressure on my family and I, especially because we’re already funding a large portion of the fees ourselves. I do not think it would prevent me from going to my chosen university, although my lifestyle and accommodation standards may suffer as a result of the increase.”
Although there has been no confirmation that the student fees in Northern Ireland will rise to the speculated figure, the possibility that fees will increase in the future is still be a worrying factor for students. Those Fermanagh students opting to go further afield for their education to England or Scotland are forced to pay fees up to £9,000 per academic year. 
Enniskillen’s Hollie Bruce is planning on heading to Scotland for university in September and faces fees almost three times the cost of Northern Irish universities. 
“I am awaiting my A level results and I have been dreading it all summer. It is something that is always in the back of your mind. I am hoping to go to Glasgow and the fees are already almost triple those of the Belfast universities which does concern me, and the fact that they could rise further leaves me facing huge debts. I think rather than encouraging young people into higher education such debts really have the opposite effect, and many young people unfortunately find themselves having to miss out on a university education.”
If the fees for Northern Ireland’s universities do increase, it would leave graduates facing massive crippling debt of up to £30,000 when they complete a three year degree at university. 

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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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