Voluntary Sector: Taking Action ... National Union of Students vs UK Government

Target: UK Government
Protesters: National Union of Students
Location: Nationwide
Date: 5 November

- The lowdown

The National Union of Students (NUS) organised a 'Students in the Red' day of action to protest against the university top-up fee system. Protesters held rallies and drove campaign buses around cities. Students hung a banner from the Millennium Bridge in Gateshead spelling out the average student debt of £25,000.

- Why the protest?

The NUS wants the Government to abolish top-up fees. It also wants to introduce a national bursary system that provides financial support based on student need, not place of study. The action followed last week's announcement that partial grants to students from middle-income families would be cut and took place at the same time as international protests called by the European Students' Union.

- How did the Government respond?

The Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills said there was no evidence that students were put off going to university because of a lack of finance. It also said it provided two-thirds of students with a full or partial grant last year and is to do the same next year.

- Media coverage

The BBC, PA and The Guardian all covered the story. Regional media also picked up the issue including Kent Online, the Liverpool Daily Post and the Bradford Telegraph & Argus.

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