General Election 2015: what are the major parties’ stance on higher education?By Editor
It's voting day, yay!
You can practically feel the scorching embers of the inside of our proximate polling stations on the back of our necks (or throats, depending on where you're facing in relation to your nearest primary school gymnasium or Anglican church).
Never before has something so important and exciting happened in the UK. Tomorrow, we get the chance to vote for a group of people that might do things for us should they get into power.
But as students you may be wondering, "Hey, man, what's in for me?" And that's a fair point in many ways. Well, after much research and investigation, we have uncovered where each party stands in regards to higher education.
The Conservative Party
In 2010, the Tories trebled university tuition fees to £9,000 a year. In the 2015 manifesto, the party made no clear stance on whether there will be any subsequent changes to this. However Lib Dem, Secretary for Business for Business, Innovation and skills, popular local champion and respected national figure (his words), Vince Cable believes that an increase could be on the cards if the Torys win the election outright.
The Labour Party
Putting the ‘ed’ in education, Red Ed Miliband has pledged to reduce the current tuition rate by a third if they get in power. This policy would be introduced in 2016, affecting those who are commencing a course that year.
Scottish National Party
Angela Constance, who is the shadow minister for education, believes that education should be free and would abolish any monetary fee. As she wrote on the party's official website: university should be related to 'the ability to learn, not the ability to pay'. We must be clear, however: those that don't live in Scotland cannot vote for the SNP.
The UK Independence Party
There is no official stance relating to fees, but the party have stated that those who are are planning on conducting a STEMM course (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine) they would be able to complete them for free.
They also have said that upfront payments would have to be made by European students, as they would leave the EU upon assuming power, thus withdrawing the possibility of a government loan.
The Lib Dems caused an almighty stink in 2010 when they reneged on getting rid of tuition fees when they joined forces with the Tories, creating a coalition. So much so, it sparked the biggest student movement since the 60s.
In their manifesto, they have stated that no one has to pay back a penny of their debt until they are earning 21k a year.