Thursday 21-04-2016 - 12:17
NUS Scotland has welcomed commitments to students and apprentices in the SNP manifesto. The manifesto adopts many of the recommendations of NUS Scotland’s ‘Shaping Scotland’s Future’ manifesto, with key policies including:
- A review and reform of the student support system, while continuing to rule out the introduction of tuition fees, including a rise in the loan repayment threshold;
- Adoption of a number of recommendations from the Commission on Widening Access, including the appointment of a Fair Access Commissioner, and a guaranteed place and full bursary for care leavers;
- Protection of college places, and a further increase in the number of modern apprentices and free travel for young apprentices;
- And, an increased focus on young people experiencing mental ill-health, including how students can be better supported to ensure increased retention.
Commenting on the manifesto, Vonnie Sandlan, President of NUS Scotland, said:
“This manifesto includes some really welcome and encouraging commitments for students, young people, and apprentices. The SNP have listened to students and apprentices, who overwhelmingly said that the issue of fairer support needed to be at the heart of this campaign, and set out policies that begin to address the support and opportunities they need to access education, stay there, and reach their full potential.
“A review and reform of the current student support system is particularly welcome. If we were starting from scratch, we wouldn’t aspire to the system we have now. It leaves far too many students to fall through the gaps. Even worse, in the case of the overstretched and underfunded system in further education, it can see them receive no support at all. A review would ensure we scrap the injustices of the current system, and provide security and parity for all students, regardless of where, what or how they study.
“It’s particularly encouraging to see reference to increasing bursaries for our poorest students, reforming the loan system, and working towards a system that follows student need rather than simply their place of study. At the same time, however, we know that there are important changes we can, and must, make now for students. While a review fixes the long term problems students face, but we shouldn’t wait before providing the immediate changes they need and deserve. Between now and polling day we'll be campaigning to ensure that no party is left in no doubt that the status quo isn’t good enough, and set out what they’ll do to deliver fairer support for students.”