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Blog: HE Bill Update - What Can You Do To Help?

I’ve spent a large part of my year so far as RHSU President running around and lobbying about the new Higher Education Bill and how disastrous it could be for our futures. 

Most students are probably either fed up of me spamming them with information about the bill, or have absolutely zero idea what I’m talking about. But all you need to know is that you, as an individual student, can help us make positive changes to a bill that as it stands, could have serious consequences for students, alumni and academics alike.

So here is a basic breakdown of what stage the bill is at and what you can be doing to influence it. I know many of you will be sat at home (or in the library) looking for ways to procrastinate from revising or writing essays, so please seize this excuse to put off work for just a little while longer and get in touch with your MP!

We have recently seen a number of positive amendments to the HE Bill from the House of Lords, however after the House of Commons’ Recess (ending 18 April) the negotiation stage will take place, probably within the first two weeks post recess. Our hard fought amendment wins can be overturned at this stage by only nine MPs due to the Conservative Government’s majority of seventeen.

Therefore, the next three weeks are majorly important for lobbying our MPs to help us protect the following amendments;

  • The ‘Kerslake amendment’: Cutting the link between ‘teaching excellence’ and fee rises. (To attempt to reduce the likelihood of fees drastically increasing)
  • The ‘Hannay amendment’: Removing international students from net migration figures. (Ensuring they are not affected by negative immigration policy)
  • The ‘Wolf amendment’: Protecting students from risks posed by new HE providers. (Requiring new degree providers to have a track record of quality education and maintain standards)
  • The ‘Royall amendment’: Voter Registration upon enrolment to university. (Encouraging students to ensure their voices are heard)

For those of you with time to spare, it’s a brilliant idea to actually meet your MP in person and this is surprisingly easy to do – book an appointment by calling up their office or just drop in to an ‘advice surgery’ which are generally held every Friday in the constituency. Search the parliament site to find your MP’s website and the details of their next surgery.

Alternatively call your MP’s office and follow up your call by emailing them the NUS briefing for MPs on the amendments for the bill.

Or for those who are keen to get involved but looking for a slightly faster way to have an impact, email your MP using the NUS’s automated online email your MP form.  

You can also tweet your MP by finding their handle on www.tweetyourmp.com , here is a sample tweet you can edit and use:

@MPTwitterHandle Pls support cutting the link between teaching excellence and higher fees in #HEBill. Full briefing: http://bit.ly/HEBillPingPong.

You can find a full lobbying guide from the National Union of Students on their website or by clicking here.

As always feel free to contact me at President@su.rhul.ac.uk with any questions, queries or feedback and remember to encourage other students to get involved too, this final push is absolutely crucial and it’s up to us to protect the future of higher education.    

?Tasha Barrett
President, Education and Campaigns