SNP Manifesto 2021: What we’re doing for students

From free tuition, to record investment in our colleges and universities, the SNP has a proud record of championing Scotland’s students while in government.

Make it Both Votes SNP to:

Protect free education and widen access

We will always keep education a right, not a privilege – based on the ability to learn, not the ability to pay.

Scotland is the only country in the UK that offers free university education, saving Scottish students studying in Scotland up to £27,000.

As long as the SNP are in government, there will be no tuition fees in Scotland.

In the next Parliament, we will widen access for students from the poorest backgrounds, implementing the recommendations of the Commissioner for Widening Access – including reviewing the funding provision for postgraduate students.

Expand our student support package

We will expand our total student support package to reach the equivalent of the Real Living Wage over the next three years.

We will also improve the support available to estranged students – those without parental financial support – with a package of support equivalent to the Real Living Wage.

This includes exploring a programme of guarantorship for estranged students, who are disproportionately vulnerable to exploitation within the housing market.

What’s more, we will introduce a special support payment – so that students who receive benefits do not lose out because they are in receipt of, or entitled to, student support.

Tackle digital poverty

We will tackle student digital poverty. The lack of electronic devices and connectivity hinders too many students from less well off backgrounds.

We will bridge the divide by providing universities and colleges with £5 million per year to provide support to students.

Promote student welfare

The SNP will put in place a student mental health action plan to address waiting times, ensure equity of access to counsellors, and embed mental health and wellbeing into the curriculum.

We’ll review the Purpose-Built Student Accommodation sector and bring forward a student accommodation strategy for Scotland.

And we will work to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls – backed up by increased funding and our Equally Safe Strategy.

We will fight for Scotland’s inclusion in Erasmus and ensure opportunities post-Brexit

The Erasmus exchange programme has helped transform the lives of thousands of our students, schoolchildren, teachers, adult learners and young people – opportunities which have now been robbed by the Tory Brexit.

We remain committed to Erasmus, and will continue to advocate for Scotland’s inclusion in the programme.

Until then, we will create a Scottish programme of exchange to provide mobility and cooperation opportunities in higher education, vocational education and training, school education, adult education, youth and sport.

Help graduates into work

Exploitation of graduates through zero-hours contracts, unpaid internships and workplace discrimination is not welcome in Scotland, and we will keep fighting for a fairer deal for young workers.

If re-elected, we will support a specific accreditation programme for Living Hours – ensuring workers get the hours they need to make ends meet – in the same way we have supported Living Wage accreditation.