What’s going on with your degree this election?
Breaking down #ge2015 from fees to loans and everything in between.
Labour: More BA for your buck
Labour deserves to get the pride of place in this piece rounding up what a new government might do to your degree. Its main policy for education is good news for all students: cutting university fees to £6,000 a year! Labour will also make internships pay minimum wage after four weeks, and promises face-to-face careers advice. Also, Maths and English will continue to be compulsory until 18.
The Lowdown: Less money for your uni time and more help afterwards.
Conservatives: More students. More loans. Less fees?
The Conservatives pledge to allow university to recruit more undergraduate students. They promise a postgraduate loan scheme for masters and PhD students, but not a word on the actual tuition fees. The Tories also have a “zero tolerance for failure” pledge will ensure that children who fail their math or English primary school leaving exams will be able to retake the tests in their first year of secondary school. Sorry guys, but it’s too late for you.
The Lowdown: More money for a masters, but keeping mum on fee cuts.
Liberal Democrats: Protect the Pupils
Lib Dems’ education pledge directly concerning you is their ring fence on the education budget for students up to 19 year-old. This means they will protect the full education budget throughout the next parliament. They also want to double the numbers of businesses hiring apprentices; but there isn’t much in their manifesto about universities (and nothing about fee cuts).
The Lowdown: More money, more opportunities, still fees.
UKIP: Treats for the Technologies
Science, technology, maths and engineering students, UKIP promises to scrap your university fees on the condition that you pay UK tax and work in your discipline for 5 years upon completion of your degree. (Yeah, we know, what about the others?!) They also want to introduce an “Apprenticeship Qualification” option, instead of four non-core GCSEs. And UKIP are keen to scrap the target of 50% of school leavers going to university, and will make students from the EU (which they don’t plan on being a part of anyway) pay the same student fee rates as International students.
The Lowdown: Less students but more scientists and no foreigners (obviously).
SNP: Supporting Scottish Students
No changes or surprises here. SNP promises Scottish students that they will continue the no tuition fee policy — once again, what about everyone else? No changes for any English who fancy heading up to Edinburgh Uni, I’m afraid. The SNP are also promising to protect the Education Maintenance Allowance for 16–19 year olds, and to maintain their target of 116,000 funded college places.
The Lowdown: Pretty much the same as it has been in the past.