LABOUR leader Ed Miliband has backed the Echo’s campaign to get more Wearsiders into university.
Mr Miliband gave a big thumbs- up to the Degrees of Success campaign, which aims to help increase the number of graduates on Wearside, giving people with talent regardless of background, the opportunity to fulfil their career ambitions, increase their earnings potential and enjoy a life-changing experience.
He said: “I’m definitely backing this campaign. It’s really important that people do take the opportunity to go to university.”
The Labour leader, who visited Sunderland’s Liebherr crane manufacturing plant in Ayre’s Quay last week, said young people needed as much encouragement as possible to stay on in higher education.
A number of workers at the plant raised concerns about the increase in tuition fees.
Mr Miliband repeated proposals to drop the Coalition Government’s £9,000-per-year cap on tuition fees to £6,000 by scrapping the Government’s planned cut in corporation tax for financial services.
“We can’t build a successful economy if the kids from all backgrounds are put off going to university,” he said.
“I think we should drop tax cuts for banks – it’s more important to invest in our young people.
“We’ve proposed taking fees down to £6,000 instead of £9,000.”
Mr Miliband said a reduction in the cap on fees was a start, and the Labour Party hoped to make it even easier for young people to go to university if and when it returned to power.
The Doncaster MP studied philosophy, politics and economics at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, after leaving Haverstock Comprehensive School in Chalk Farm, North London.
He also took a Masters Degree in economics at the London School of Economics.
Sunderland University has announced a three-tier fees system for students starting in 2012 with courses ranging from £7,000-per-year for a Foundation Degree and £8,500-per-year for expensive-to-run programmes such as lab-based courses.
It has confirmed it is not one of the institutions to lower its suggested fees in a bid to win more students.
The university says the new fees system includes a £10million support package to ensure the door to higher education remains open to those with talent regardless of their background.
It says it has a range of financial support, scholarships and bursaries to help students manage their finances.