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Huge debt inhibits learning

The Association of Teachers and Lecturers welcomes the Scottish Government's proposal to alleviate one element of debt faced by students by abolishing the graduate endowment fee. ATL believes that access to education should not be inhibited by the high levels of debt that students currently find themselves burdened with.

Previous research by the Scottish Executive showed university students from poorer backgrounds had 23 per cent more debt than those from more wealthy backgrounds. ATL's own survey on student debt found that 38.3 per cent of student teachers knew someone who had dropped out of teacher training for financial reasons, and 49.3 per cent of respondents estimated their debts would be in excess of pound;10,000 by the end of their course.

We are concerned about the impact of debt on those going into teaching and our survey carried out earlier this year showed the real problem many new teachers are facing. ATL is happy to support the abolition of the endowment fee and looks forward to developing a positive working relationship with the Scottish Government.

Mary Bousted general secretary, Association of Teachers and Lecturers

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