In November the government sold off student loans worth £900m to a private debt collector for the bargain basement price of £160m, in a deal which includes all the student loans taken out before 1998.
But this outrageous decision is likely to be just round one of the ‘Great Student Loan Giveaway’.
The government is planning to sell off the rest student loan book (1998-2012) to private companies.
In order to make the student loan book more profitable, a secret report for the government (written by Rothschild Bank) has proposed retrospectively increasing the cap of interest on student loan repayments or scrapping it all together. This essentially means a retrospective hike in tuition fees.
The government is planning to complete the sell off by 2015. It could happen sooner.
Students have already started to build a movement to stop this with a national day of action on Weds 20 November 2013 which involved 25 campuses. Check out a report in The Independent here.
We are calling this national week of action in the first week of February 2014 to build upon the momentum and take the campaign to the next level.
From targeting your MP to sign our Early Day Motion in Parliament opposing the sale of student loans to organising a creative stunt on campus to raise awareness about the issue amongst students, there is lots you can do to get involved in the national week of action.
Check out the suggestions below for more ideas, practical advice and a list of the campuses already signed up to take part in the national week of action.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to join the national week of action.
* WHAT CAN YOU DO FOR THE WEEK OF ACTION? *
A full activist guide to organising for the week of action, alongside resources will be coming out within the next week, but in the meantime here are a few ideas to help you start organising.
1. TAREGT YOUR MP! Organise a local protest outside your MP’s surgery which happen on Fridays
Find out who your local MP is here.
Organise for group of students from your campus to march down to MPs office to hand in your petition. Invite your local media along to take photos and report your action.
Once you arrive consider the following actions:
- Demand a meeting and ask that they publicly oppose the privatisation of student loans by signing theEarly Day Motion in Parliament. The Student Assembly have produced a handy lobby tool which you can use to lobby your MP within 2 minutes: check it out here
- If they agree to with the campaign, get a photo of them with student campaigners signing THE PLEDGE – which will be available on the Student Assembly Against Austerity website soon!
- If they don’t agree continue to protest outside their office, do a banner drop, post twitter and facebook updates and make an embarrassing amount of noise in front of their constituents who are visiting them for surgery – this will make a good story for your local media!
2. SOUND THE ALARM! Raise awareness amongst students that the government is plotting a hike in tuition fees through the back door
The majority of students still don’t know know that the government plans to sell off our student debt before the next general election and that this will cause our debts to rise.
Raising awareness through the week of action is really important.
Let’s get organising lots of visible and creative stunts, alongside general campaigning on campus. Here are a few ideas:
* Debt ins
* Banner drops
* Photo stunts
* Organise a public meeting – we can provide you with a speaker
3. BUILDING A BROAD COALITION TO STOP THE SELL OFF
We need to demonstrate that there is majority against the government’s plans. Getting institutions and prominent people to oppose the privatisation of student debt will strengthen our campaign and make it more difficult for the government to get away with the student debt sell off.
In the run up and during the week of action write to potentially supportive organisations asking them to issue statements against government’s plan sell off of student debt, including:
- Your Students’ Union – get them to write an official open letter to your local MPs demanding they come out against the plan to privatise student loans
- Local trade unions – ask them to back your week of action and provide public statements against the student sell off which we can tweet out to politicians and the media
- Lecturers and university staff – urge them to get involved with the campaign and make public statements
- Your University management/Vice Chancellor – publicly write to them demanding they come out against the privatisation of student debt. If we can win over university management to officially oppose the plans to privatise student debt and stand with students that would be a blow against the government and demonstrate the consensus within educational institutions is with us
* WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NEXT? *
Here are a few tips for student activists who want to get involved in organising something for the national week of action:
- Organise a planning meeting on campus: bring together key activists before the end of term to start discussing plans for the week of action and build a team of people to make it happen.
- Get your Students’ Union involved: this issue directly impacts all students, it’s a major attack and every single Students’ Union in the country needs to use its resources and profile to fight back to stop the privatisation from happening. Contact your Students’ Union and ask them to support and help organise the week of action. Try to get the SU Officers along to your planning meeting.
- Come along to the national Student Assembly Against Austerity campaigns planning meeting in January: You can meet other student campaigners from across the country, share ideas, discuss how to confront the austerity offensive against students and help us plan the national week of action. Details coming soon!
Please email email@example.com to let us know if you are joining the national week of action. We can add you to the national list of events, provide you with resources, help and advice and put you in touch with the media to cover your actions.
Campuses planning action so far include:
* Liverpool University
* Manchester University
* Warwick University
* Midkent College
* Bradford College
* Goldsmiths College
* Durham University
* London Met University
* Oxford University
* Chester University
* Gloucestershire University
* Brighton University
* Nottingham University