Free education keeps student debt down

Scotland’s policy of free education is helping to keep student debt levels the lowest in the UK.

Figures from the Student Loans Company showed the average Scottish student loan debt was £6,480 compared to £17,140 in England, £13,650 in Wales and £15,880 in Northern Ireland.

Stewart Maxwell, convener of the Scottish Parliament’s Education and Culture Committee, said these statistics posed serious questions for Labour after it backed tuition fees.

Mr Maxwell said:

“The SNP is clear that educational opportunity should be based on the ability to learn, not the ability to pay.

“We will never price Scotland’s young people out of an education and have a generous package of student support, which is why we have the lowest student debt levels in the UK.

“The SNP Government is building on these positive figures by working towards delivering a minimum income of £7,000 a year for the most vulnerable students.

“We are the only party never to have voted for tuition fees and are the only party who can be trusted on education – as Labour’s desertion of its commitment to free higher education in Scotland highlights.

“Nobody can trust a word the Labour leadership say and ordinary Labour members and voters will be aghast at their party’s blatant disregard for the welfare of Scotland’s students.”