UoN students are taking part in a march today protesting the planned privatisation of the student loan book.
The event, jointly organised by the Nottingham Young Greens, the Left Society and other student protest groups, is part of a national week of action protesting government plans to sell off student loans, including all those taken out between 1998 and 2012, to private companies.
The week of action follows a national day of action which took place in November and involved 25 campuses. Throughout the week, the Nottingham Young Greens have been collecting signatures for their petition against the plans and have posted an open letter to Vice Chancellor Prof. David Greenaway. They plan to deliver the petition to the Chancellor during today’s march.
Calum McGregor, from the Communications Office for the Nottingham Young Greens, described the sell-off as “fundamentally unfair”, adding, “young people, as usual, are being sacrificed to guarantee profits for private firms.”
McGregor told Impact he hoped the protest and the National Week of Action would raise awareness of the issue amongst students, as “not many people we’ve spoken to have been aware of (the plans).”
The NUS Black Students’ Officer and spokesperson for the Student Assembly Against Austerity, Aaron Kiely, condemns the plans as an “outrageous attack” on students and education.
“To ensure the student loan book is profitable for private companies the cap on interest for repayments would need to be increased” he explains. “This proposal would lead to a retrospective hike in tuition fees.”
Vlad Tomes, a first year history student and activist, explained that he was protesting because “the government is trying to make education elitist- they’re selling off our futures to companies who will undoubtedly try to make money off us.”
Genetics graduate Geraint Thomas echoed this, saying “the planned sell off is fundamentally wrong and we need mass action on a national scale to stop it.”
In a statement to Impact, University of Nottingham Registrar Dr Paul Greatrix said, “I look forward to receiving the petition and considering its contents.”
The march leaves the Portland Building on University Park at 12 pm on Friday 7th February and will deliver the petition to the vice-chancellor’s office.