BM71: Tuition fees and accessible higher education
Since gaining access to higher education is one of the most important drivers of emancipation in society, tuition fees and absence of grants slow down progress for a larger part of society. Tuition fees in the UK, IRL, ES, IT, HU, and NL are the highest in Europe.1 We as student unions will not tolerate our systems becoming (even) less inclusive. We as societies should fund young futures to further our progress, as this will benefit Europe as a whole. Whilst tuition fees and the costs of education in general are on the rise, gaining access to higher education in the broader sense is becoming increasingly difficult. Finding affordable housing, being able to use public transport, paying no or very low tuition fees and gaining access to grants is no longer commonplace. This is especially the case for minorities, students with disabilities, first generation students, students from low income families, students in employment and students with caring responsibilities, who are already disadvantaged. We as societies also have the responsibility to provide students from outside the EHEA fair access to our HE systems, since emancipation goes beyond borders. ESU demands that each level and field of education is accessible to all, and this should include all elements of the overall student experience such as housing, public transport and grants. The countries mentioned should abolish or at least significantly lower tuition fees for higher education and pay special attention to minorities and marginalised groups. We believe in strength in unity, and so extend our solidarity to student movements globally facing the same struggle for free, quality education.