Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

A group of around 20 students from the University of St Andrews occupied the gardens outside the Principal’s residence at 6am on Tuesday in protest to the introduction of £9,000 a year rest of UK (RUK) fees. The occupation will last for 36 hours, to symbolise the £36,000 debt the university has asked its RUK students to graduate with. Students are demanding an immediate withdrawal of the proposed fees as well as greater transparency and democracy in university decision making. The decision to charge RUK students £36,000, when added to the largest living costs in Scotland, now makes St Andrews the most expensive university to achieve an undergraduate degree in Europe.

One student reflected the wide anger at the decision, saying “It’s a gross hypocrisy that people who benefitted from a free education themselves are increasing fees for other students by 500%. The governments at Westminster and Holyrood should take their share of the blame but the university’s argument that this is financially necessary is dishonest. The cut per RUK student is only £3,323 so raising fees by over £7,000 doesn’t make sense.”

Another student, a second year English student, said “Since the decision to raise tuition fees was made out of term time while students were away, it is of vital importance to let those in charge of the University of St Andrews know that there is a large student opposition to these unnecessary measures. It is also very important to show other students who may feel strongly against these new fees that vocal protest and occupation is a perfectly valid and effective way of making this disagreement felt.”

A fourth year International Relations student told people “I believe that this increase in fees across Scotland is detrimental to higher education. I’m protesting today on University property to promote this view and to promote a future of freely available education for whoever wants it.”

A third year geography student revealed “We want to show the university that just because they have already made the decision to charge £36,000 for a degree it doesn’t mean that the students accept it. Being the most expensive university in Europe is not the legacy we want our university to carry.”

The decision to raise RUK fees at St Andrews followed Edinburgh University also setting its fees at the maximum threshold. A group of around 100 students from across Scotland recently occupied Edinburgh University in protest of this decision.

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/36-Hours-Against-36-Thousand/.

Twitter: @standrewsoccupy

Website:  https://standrewsoccupied.wordpress.com/

Email:  standrewsoccupy@gmail.com

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2 Responses to Press Release

  1. Herman says:

    I don’t understand how you can complain about paying higher fees when you, the student, have more than enough opportunity and availability to a good education in England. By a rough count there are much more highly ranked uni’s in England which do not charge the 36k. It is your choice to come to Scotland. Yes there are systemic problems with this town, but those are problems which have been longstanding and without an easy fix.

    Maybe if you spent less time protesting and more time studying you would have better prospects in finding a job where paying off 36k would be non-problematic.

  2. “Maybe if you spent less time protesting and more time studying you would have better prospects in finding a job where paying off 36k would be non-problematic.”

    You seem to have spectacularly missed the point here. Aside from using the tired old cliche that protesters don’t work/don’t have a job (you missed out that we’re all unwashed by the way), we pointed out that the actual debt for a St Andrews student is likely to be around £70,000. If you think paying this off is “non-problematic” then you’re extremely priviledged, but for the vast majority of people that is a vast sum of money.

    We don’t feel that the decision about which university to go to should be about how much money you have, or which side of arbitary state borders you happened to be born in. The decision about whether to go to St Andrews should be about whether you deserve to go on academic grounds and not whether you can afford to. The inevitable result of charging higher fees is that students who would have gone to St Andrews but are from lower-income backgrounds will not go and their places will be filled with privately education morons with money to burn. If that’s what you want that’s your call, but we fundamentally reject this potential future for our university.

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