VSO: credit student loans for graduate volunteers abroad

VSO asked the Government to consider offering fee repayment credits to graduates who volunteer overseas, ahead of last night's tight Commons vote on top-up tuition fees.

Chief executive Mark Goldring said the concept would act as a concession within controversial government proposals to increase tuition fees to a maximum £3,000 per year by 2006, and give the Government an opportunity to encourage the principle of volunteering overseas.

"At the moment, the Active Communities Directorate's brief is to look at improving volunteering in the UK," said Goldring. "But it doesn't recognise international volunteering."

He mooted the idea at a meeting last week with the directorate, which promised to pass the idea on to Voluntary Sector Minister Fiona Mactaggart.

Currently, anyone who cannot afford to repay their student loan has it frozen while volunteering overseas.

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