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Expansion of Magee campus ‘must be backed’

By Brendan McDaid

Higher tuition fees in England mean it is critical that political leaders back the University of Ulster’s plans to expand the Magee campus, Vice-Chancellor Professor Richard Barnett has said.

In a hard-hitting address at the winter graduation ceremonies held at Londonderry's Millennium Forum, Prof Barnett voiced fears for the future of disadvantaged young people if the tuition fee policy proposed for England is replicated here.

He said: “I fear that should the Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly follow England, or tinker around the edges with the English policy, that access to higher education will in the future relate more to family circumstances than it does to ability to learn.

“And while this university will continue to be strong — as indicated by most of the conventional measures of success — we would be weakened by so flawed a policy.”

Prof Barnett said students who want to study here must have that opportunity rather than having to apply to universities in England, where costs are set to rise.

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