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Course dispels fears about student debt

Managing debt has become such an important skill for university students that it has been put at the heart of a proposed new qualification for sixth-formers.

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service is considering accrediting a course developed by Leeds Metropolitan university, which prepares disadvantaged pupils for life as a student.

The qualification includes financial planning to reduce fear of debt and helps students manage the average pound;12,000 each graduate owes. Pupils also learn how to plan a career and how to present themselves.

The one-year course, usually taken in Year 12, is valued at 30 Ucas points by Leeds Met, Trinity and All Saints university and the University of East London.

If it is adopted by Ucas, the qualification could be included in applications for all universities.

Kevin Beach, head of sixth form at Intake high school in a deprived part of west Leeds, said financial concerns were an obstacle to bright, working-class students applying for university. The course had convinced many that higher education was worth it, he said.

The university's bid for accreditation comes as the Higher Education Funding Council for England revealed that pupils from poor areas were six times less likely to enter higher education than those in wealthy areas.

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