McLaughlin welcomes UCAS deadline extension and urges Economy Minister to lift MaSn cap
The Foyle MLA said:
“I welcome the news that UCAS has given Undergraduate applicants an extension on their offer deadline. A lot has changed since candidates first completed their applications. This extension ensures that prospective students have the breathing space necessary to properly consider their options and avoids pushing stressed applicants into rushed decisions.
“Many are understandably anxious to remain closer to home during these uncertain times. The good news is that we have an excellent offering of higher and further education in the North West, both through Magee and the multiple North West Regional College campuses.
“My advice to prospective students is to make the most of this extra time and carefully consider which options best suit your needs. Don’t shy away from picking up the phone and asking for more information, talking to someone often provides a better insight than a brochure or a website.
“It is also important to remember that there is no ‘correct’ pathway into higher education. The North West Regional College provide courses in a wide range of subjects, some provide standalone higher education qualifications and others enable you to progress into the final years of university.
“And don’t overlook the option of Higher Level Apprenticeships. They offer a unique opportunity to earn a higher level education qualification while gaining practical skills and improving employability.
“It is within this context that I urge the Economy Minister to consider lifting the MaSn cap. It would certainly be a competitively opportune moment to do so.
“Roughly a third of students from Northern Ireland are higher education emigrants and the majority never return. If we are serious about rebuilding our economy and creating a skilled workforce then we have to acknowledge that the current situation is unsustainable. Lifting the cap would provide much-needed economic growth during what will be particularly challenging period for our region as we face the twin crises of COVID-19 and Brexit.”