A HUDDERSFIELD graduate has been helping to persuade the nation’s young people to go to university.
Alex Diffley, 22, who left Huddersfield University last year, has been taking part in a national roadshow to demystify academia and finances.
Alex, who studied music and journalism, was one of 41 graduates in England selected by the government’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, which is responsible for universities.
Since September, they have been travelling their regions giving presentations to students and parents, sixth form colleges and schools.
The main deadline for university applications in this Sunday, January 15.
Students starting university this autumn face stiff increases in tuition fees. The government has allowed universities to increase fees from £3,375 a year up to a maximum of £9,000 a year.
Most universities have settled on a figure at the top end of the limit. Huddersfield University has set a fee of £7,950 for 2012/13.
Alex said: “University not only gave me independence but also the ability to go out and get a good job by raising my aspirations. It has shaped me into an ambitious, confident and independent individual, and you can’t put a price on that.
“Money is a big consideration and it’s important that students understand the costs involved – from tuition fees to rent and money to live – and the help out there.
“I advise all students to look into what they are entitled to as it may be more than they think.”
Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said: “No one should be put off applying to university because they don’t have the information about the new student finance system.
“Students need to know that most new undergraduates will not pay up front costs, there will be more financial support for those from low-income families and everyone will make lower monthly loan repayments than they do now once they are in well-paid work.”
Under the new system, a graduate does not have to pay back the tuition fee and living cost loans until he or she is earning over £21,000 a year.
Loans are repaid back at a rate of nine pence in every pound of income earned over £21,000. On a salary of £25,000 a year, a graduate would pay back £6.92 a week.
Huddersfield University has seen a rise of 5% in applications compared with last year and 26% compared with 2010. Meanwhile, the universities seen as Huddersfield’s closest competitors have experienced a slump of 8.5%.
Huddersfield expects about 4,500 new students in September.