You can find the online publication here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/2016/03/14/students-must-take-notice-of-threats-made-to-education/
When George Osborne announced his intention to axe the student maintenance grant and replace it with debt in his 2015 summer Budget there was an outcry across the country.
But the news that the proposal would not even be debated in the Commons, and instead would be passed by just 18 MPs in a “third delegated legislation committee” proved even more unpopular.
When Labour forced the issue into the spotlight the resulting debate in mid-January produced a meagre turnout by MPs – however the House of Commons wasn’t the only place that suffered from low attendance.
Last year, 40 per cent of Sheffield Hallam University students were provided with a total £31 million worth of grants. This made Hallam the third most reliant university on maintenance grants in the country and it is one of the nation’s largest higher education institutions.
As a postgraduate student at Sheffield Hallam University, I attended an event hosted by the union which broadcast the parliamentary debate live. Yet, despite there being over 30,000 students, I was dismayed to see theaudience in front of me numbered in the teens.
Considering how massive an affect the cutting of grants will have on students at Hallam, this issue should be as important a topic of discussion around the student halls as “Where are we pre-drinking tonight?” Yet I’ve been told the turnout for the other meetings and debates hosted for the ‘Grants Not Debt’ campaign were as low as the one I experienced.
I’ve had conversations with people who have openly admitted that they weren’t aware at the time that future students were having their grants turned into debt, but all openly disagreed with the move.
One of the friends I’d lived with for three years during my undergraduate degree said he’d seriously have reconsidered taking his chemistry degree. Similar door knocking campaigns in the student areas of Sheffield by both of the cities universities found the same response.