UNIVERSITY students dressed as mourners and carried a coffin through the streets of Durham to protest the “death” of affordable education.

Organisers say nearly 350 students attended the Funeral For Accessible Education, which a student dressed as the Grim Reaper led from outside Durham Cathedral to Durham University’s headquarters.

Students are angry at the University’s decision to increase college accommodation fees by 3.5 per cent to more than £7,000 for a standard, catered room for the 2016-17 academic year.

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They say accommodation costs have risen by 15 per cent in three years and from next year a standard room at Durham will cost nearly £2,500 more than one at nearby Newcastle University.

Trevelyan College Left Society (TCLS) says students from poorer backgrounds will be priced out, as even the maximum maintenance loan available would leave a £1,500 annual shortfall.

Tuesday night’s (December 8) procession ended with “eulogies” to accessible education, including songs, poems and testimonies.

Jasmine Simms, secretary of TCLS, said: “It’s a disgrace that the University has chosen to raise college fees way above inflation.

“This comes even after significant opposition from Junior Common Rooms, the Durham Students’ Union and various student groups on campus.

“We hope our action shows the University management that students’ anger about these issues is palpable and that if they are not prepared to work with the student body in reversing these changes, we are prepared to escalate (the campaign).”

Since the march, the University’s vice-chancellor, Professor Stuart Corbridge, has written to students assuring them it is committed to consultation. Talks are planned covering issues including providing more student bursaries and a greater choice of accommodation and involving students in creating a new Accommodation Strategy.

Prof Corbridge said: “Developing a dialogue with our students and understanding how best to consult and communicate with them is important, so we are committed to working with student representatives to get this right.”

However, TCLS president Richard Lowdon said: “I cannot afford to live in college next year and the price makes me feel that all I am to the University is money. I hope the University realises that this anger is not going away.”