This government u-turn represents a major victory for the student movement. If the student loan book had have been sold off to private debt collectors there is no doubt that in a bid to maximise profits interest rates on repayments would have soared. To put it bluntly, privatising student loans would have been a retrospective hike in tuition fees.
But students and graduates have shown that we won’t tolerate being burdened with even more debt without a fight.
The Student Assembly Against Austerity (the student wing of the People’s Assembly) has been at the forefront of the campaign to #StopTheSellOff. Alongside hundreds of student activists across the country, we have organised national days and weeks of action involving more than 50 campuses which has resulted in over 76 MPs signing our Early Day Motion against the privatisation of student debt.
With the General Election just around the corner and the student movement on the rise it is no surprise that the Lib Dems have decided to back off on their assault on students.
Well done and congratulations to everyone who took part – all the banner drops, occupations, mass petitioning, stunts, protesting and lobbying together made a huge difference and proves once again that campaigning works!
There are, however, many more fights ahead.
There will be those who will want to revisit plans to privatise student loans in the future – we need to make sure they never succeed.
As a result of the trebling of tuition fees, higher education in the UK is the most expensive in the whole of Europe and student debt is rocketing as a result. At the same time the slashing of EMA and savage cuts to education are hitting students hard.
With a General Election just months away, now is the time for the student movement to step up our campaigning efforts and loudly raise our demands for free education - against all fees, cuts and debt.
That is why The Student Assembly Against Austerity is joining a coalition of groups to organise a national student demonstration this autumn on Wednesday 19 November.
Join the fight back – get active with the Student Assembly!
If you would like to get involved in organising the national demonstration or would like to set up a
Student Assembly on your campus get in touch with us today on firstname.lastname@example.org