The National Union of Students (NUS) has spoken out against new government proposals to force students into holding an identity card in order to apply for a student loan, saying that the new scheme is “morally reprehensible”.
Secret Home Office documents outlinging these plans were leaked to the Conservative party and have sparked fears that the government may begin to force the collection of fingerprint and other biometric details of the two million young people who enter into higher education each year.
NUS Vice President for Welfare, Ama Uzowuru said that there were concerns about the safety of students’ personal information if they were compelled to hold identity cards. Anyone over the age of 16 would be expected to obtain an identity card, costing up to £100 prior to opening a bank account or applying for a student loan, so as to acquire financial aid from 2010.
Uzowuru also commented on the impracticality of the scheme. She said: “the student loan system is complicated enough as it is, without introducing yet another layer of bureaucracy. Many students change address at least once a year and would be obliged to report such changes in their personal circumstances or face a £1000 fine.”
YUSU President Anne-Marie Canning has also objected to the new proposals saying: “It is hard enough for students to apply for their student loans in the first places without having to go and get an ID card. Students who can’t afford to go to university without a loan will effectively be forced into acquiring an ID card. This is a disgrace.”