Students from across the North-West struggling with loans or overdrafts will be excluded from a Government- backed scheme to help postgraduates meet course costs, the Union of Students in Ireland has claimed.
The scheme, announced by Bank of Ireland for postgraduates at all state-funded colleges, follows the withdrawal of maintenance grants from this year for all new postgraduate students.
It will cover course fees and allow reduced interest-only repayments during the study period, with capital repayments to begin three months after completion.
According to The Irish Examiner, the USI says the fact that loan applications will be decided on students' own credit history means thousands will be refused as students frequently use overdraft facilities or are still struggling with loans to help them through their undergraduate degrees.
John Logue, the president of the USI, said Education Minister Ruairi Quinn had already made it all but impossible for thousands to attain a postgraduate qualifications when he removed the maintenance grant for new postgraduate students.