Judges say student loan case is not a human rights issue

HAPPIER TIMES: Former Burnholme School head girl Beaurish Tigere celebrates her GCSE success

HAPPIER TIMES: Former Burnholme School head girl Beaurish Tigere celebrates her GCSE success

First published in News
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A FORMER York head girl who is working on a supermarket checkout because she cannot afford university fees will miss out on her course after judges threw out her human rights case.

“Hard-working and high-achieving” Beaurish Tigere was head girl at Burnholme College where she got seven GCSEs, before moving on to sixth form at Archbishop Holgate’s School and gaining four A levels.

Beaurish, 18, has been in England since she was six, has only ever been to UK schools and barely remembers her life in Africa, but because the African-born teenager has only discretionary leave to remain the UK – not indefinite leave – she was not entitled to a loan.

Determined to make it to university, she secured a spot at Hull University and paid the first instalment of her £9,000-a-year fees, but had to drop out because she ran out of money and is now working in Waitrose.

However, she has since won a place on an international business management course at Middlesex University, which she could have begun in October if she had a loan.

Beaurish claimed the decision to refuse her a student loan violated her right to education and to be protected from discrimination.

Earlier this month, she took her case to the Court of Appeal, claiming her rights had been violated, but yesterday she saw her case thrown out by appeal judges.

Giving judgment, Lord Justice Vos said the government’s rules had been “exceptionally harsh” on Beaurish, but were not unlawful.

“All her education has been in the English system. She has done well at school and is determined to go to university,” said Lord Justice Laws in the lead judgment.

“Anyone who has knowledge of the case would wish to pay tribute to her single-minded ambition to obtain the benefits of higher education.”

Her problem was she was not considered to have been “ordinarily resident” in the UK for three years before the course’s start, he said.

The government’s policy under which Beaurish’s application for a student loan was refused was not a disproportionate interference with her human rights, he continued.

“This is a case in which the legal challenge is directed at a national strategic policy for the distribution of scarce resources in a field of social importance,” he said.

The two judges, and Lord Justice Floyd, agreed, meaning Beaurish’s claim was refused.

Beaurish came to England with her Zambian parents in 1995, when her father was a student in York. Although her parents split, Beaurish and her mother stayed in York and the teenager was given discretionary leave to remain in the UK last year.

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