As part of its #CutTheCosts week, the NUS has encouraged students to age themselves to show MPs how long student debts could take to pay off.
Students have been urged to take a photograph of themselves, use the editing software on the AgingBooth app to age their faces and send the results to their local MPs over social media, using the hashtag #CutTheCosts.
The NUS is encouraging students to take part in the initiative to make the longevity of student debt “as clear as possible to MPs”.
The campaign stems from a variety of events held across England and Wales during the first week of December, including a lobby at Westminster which saw students from up and down the country meet their local MPs.
“The app and the pictures are clearly very lighthearted but they definitely make the point clear”
Beth Jamieson, a second year Biology student, told Impact: “I think it is great. The app and the pictures are clearly very light-hearted but they definitely make the point clear”.
She added: “It’s going to take most students decades to pay off student loans as it is, and adding more debt to more students just isn’t fair”.
Lily Woodward, a second year Languages student, agreed: “Removing the grant will do a lot of harm. A lot of people rely on their grant as well as their loan to live at university and I think it’ll stop a lot of poorer students from applying in future”.
She continued: “I think the NUS campaign is amazing. I’ve seen a few people share their aged selfies on Facebook and Twitter”.
“The NUS has said it believes in “cutting the cost [to students], not the grant””
The NUS #CutTheCosts campaign was launched this July, following the government’s summer budget in which it was revealed that there was an intention to remove maintenance grants for full-time students in England.
It has been suggested that the current system will be replaced by a loans-based method, removing the non-repayable state support and increasing the overall long-term debt of new graduates.
Explaining its position on grant cuts, the NUS has said it believes in “cutting the cost [to students], not the grant”.
National NUS President, Megan Dunn, emphasised the impact that removing the maintenance grant could have on students, calling it an “enormous change” with the government “failing to recognise” the negative effect the proposed changes could have.
Image: Steven Green via AgingApp