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In 2010, David Cameron Said He'd Keep Student Bursaries - But The Tories Have Just Cut Maintenance Grants

20/01/2016 14:20 GMT | Updated 20/01/2016 14:59 GMT

Back in 2010, David Cameron gave a speech a Southampton University where he said society "must always" help poorer students to go to university - and said bursaries should not only be kept, but expanded.

Fast forward to 2016, and the prime minister is brushing off questions from opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn, who demanded to know why student nurse bursaries had been axed, and student maintenance grants abolished.

Last year, chancellor George Osborne announced maintenance grants would be replaced by loans, a move which was met with anger. The proposal proved to be even more unpopular when it was quietly passed by just 18 MPs in a "third delegated legislation committee", instead of being debated in the Commons.

On Tuesday, the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts (NCAFC) group organised a demonstration outside Westminster to demand a reversal of the "disgraceful attack on working class students".

The demo coincided with an opposition day debate tabled by a Labour MP, which saw the grants axing finally debated on the Commons floor.

Cameron was finally challenged on the cuts to bursaries and grants on Wednesday, during the PMQs, when Corbyn asked where the pledge to abolish maintenance grants appeared in the Tory manifesto.

The prime minister replied the manifesto promised to “cut the deficit and would uncap student numbers, and we've done both”.

He added: "We want to uncap university places so as many young people in our country who want to go to university can go to university."

Cameron's response was not taken well.

When Osborne revealed student nurses would have their bursaries taken away, and would instead have to finance their tuition fees with a loan, one student described the move as "devastating".

Stephanie Jansky, a 26-year-old who has been studying for the past two years to gain the necessary qualifications needed to enter nursing, whilst working full time.

"I already have a student loan from a previous degree and the news today that Osborne is cutting bursaries is devastating," she told The Huffington Post UK.

"It will make it highly unlikely that I can follow my dream to become a nurse.

"I already have a large amount of student debt from my first degree and to take out another one would mean paying it back until I'm basically retired; it's not like I'd be taking on more debt to eventually get a high-paid job. I don't want to be a nurse for the money obviously, but putting myself into significantly more debt is just not an option."