Chadwell Heath councillor aims to clear confusion over tuition fees

A Chadwell Heath councillor has received the backing of a government minister for his drive to clear up confusion over tuition fees.

Former president of the National Union of Students Cllr Wes Streeting joined forces with the finance expert Martin Lewis to set up an independent taskforce which aims to undo “myths and misconceptions” over the new arrangements for student finance that will start in September 2012.

When not fulfilling his role as a member of Redbridge Council, Cllr Streeting is also chief executive of the Helena Kennedy Foundation, a charity which helps widen access to higher education.

Cllr Streeting said: “I believe it is vital that potential students and their families can make informed choices about going to university based on the facts about the new system.

“If potential students in Redbridge are deterred by higher fees, the Government will need to rethink its policy. But the tragedy of students, particularly from poorer backgrounds, being deterred because of myths and misconceptions is one that can be easily avoided if we all play our part.”

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A poll by Universities UK last week showed more than half of parents feel they have insufficient information about new student finance arrangements from 2012.

Launched last week, the initiative quickly attracted the support of senior figures in the education sector.

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Announcing his backing, universities minister David Willetts said: “It is vital that people understand how the new system will work from 2012.

“This independent group has the expertise and reach to communicate to a huge number of prospective students, families and teachers, as well as to universities.

“I strongly back this new initiative. The group will be well resourced by the sector and we will be listening to what it says.”

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