Concern at soaring drop-out figures at local universities

Sinn Féin Councillor Maeve McLaughlin has expressed concern that figures released this week show that the University of Ulster loses 12% of students during their first year in studies and that almost 6% of students at Queens University Belfast do not make it to second year.

Colr: McLaughlin said: “I believe this problem is two fold. Firstly many students find it hard to adjust to student life. For many it’s their first time away from the family home, they have to live in a strange city, make new friends and cope with the responsibilities of having to look after their own accommodation.

“More worryingly one of the major considerations for students in deciding what course or university they attend is now in many occasions being based on how much the course costs and what they and their family can afford financially.

Colr. McLaughlin added: “We can’t have a two tier education system and students from low income families being disenfranchised from taking up university courses, because they can’t afford the course, accommodation costs and being confronted with a huge debt at the end of their studies.

“It is very important that as much support as possible is given to students to help ease them into student life.