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University debt fear `deters pupils'.

NEARLY nine out of 10 GCSE pupils said accumulating debts of up to pounds 20,000 would frighten them off applying to university, a survey showed today.

A third said they would not go on to do a degree if universities charged fees of pounds 2,000 a year, research by academics for the National Union of Students showed.

But higher education minister Margaret Hodge angrily dismissed the NUS poll, saying it should stop trying to ``frighten'' schoolchildren.

The last Mori survey showed 96% thought university worthwhile.

``We are getting rid of unpopular up front fees, will continue to pay the first pounds 1,100 of any fees for students most in need.

``We are re- introducing grants of up to pounds 1,000 a year and we are increasing the repayment threshold to pounds 15,000.''

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ANGRY: Hodge
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Mar 31, 2003
Words:141
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