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Fewer students studying in Britain will hit economy

I was staggered to learn of the massive drop in the number of people from Northern Ireland applying to study at higher education institutions in Great Britain.

The figures show that the number of people from Northern Ireland applying to study in England has dropped from 11,278 in 2011 to 9,741 in 2012. The number from here applying to study in Scotland has dropped from 6,115 to 5,195 and, as regards Wales, has fallen from 1,127 to 955.

I sincerely hope that the Employment and Learning Minister and his colleagues examine these figures and I am sure the minister would be as shocked as I am at the drop in numbers.

While we had excellent news about tuition fees for Northern Ireland, students from here wishing to study elsewhere in the UK face extremely high fees.

Many from Northern Ireland may now feel unable to study elsewhere.

This will severely limit options and choices, and could have a serious impact on our workforce and the economy. This is an issue for the whole Executive as they must support all of our students, not only to help them reach their potential but also to help attract jobs and boost our economy.

ADRIANNE PELTZ

President of NUS-USI

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