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Last Updated: Monday, 27 January, 2003, 18:38 GMT
Students planning one-day shutdown
Students are planning a one-day shutdown of universities in protest at government plans to increase tuition fees.

The National Union of Students is calling for non-attendance of lectures and other activities on a date, yet to be announced, in the spring.

This is set to be accompanied by a mass lobbying of MPs and a series of demonstrations.

The news follows the publication of a government white paper which proposes allowing universities to charge up to 3,000 a year for courses. The current rate is 1,100.

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Students speak out on fees

An NUS spokesperson said: "People are angry with what has been proposed.

"But it's not a foregone conclusion. University students all over the country can get involved in this campaign to stop the extra fees coming in.

"A nationwide shutdown should hit home more than a single demonstration could.

"Campuses will be deserted. People will see the feelings are nationwide and that this is not just a demonstration in London."

The NUS announced its plans after a meeting of 200 activists from around the UK at the University of London.

Staff behind us

A nationwide petition and letter-writing campaign are also under consideration.

The NUS spokesman added: "The feeling is very positive. We are looking to employ every campaigning tool we've got.

"Academic staff are behind what we are trying to achieve. We are going to be a coalition."

Under the government's plans, the NUS estimates many students will graduate with debts of up to 30,000, when living expenses are taken into account.

The government says the change to tuition fees, whereby different rates will be charged for different courses, is necessary to improve teaching and research.

Its stated aim is to get "towards 50%" of young people entering higher education by 2010.

  • In a letter to the Guardian newspaper on Monday, a dozen Labour MPs elected in 2001 urged the prime minister to abandon plans to allow universities to charge top-up fees.

    They called on the government to publish details of its assessment of a graduate tax, the alternative option believed to have been favoured by the Chancellor, Gordon Brown.

    Students debate fees action
    27 Jan 03  |  HE reaction
    Clarke to 'sell' university fee plans
    23 Jan 03  |  Education
    Anger over higher fees
    22 Jan 03  |  HE reaction
    What the strategy says
    22 Jan 03  |  HE overview

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