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A framework for reading the manifestos on student funding

April 16, 2016

The parties’ proposals on student funding are starting to emerge, some in manifestos, some as trails. Manifestos are available for the Greens, Lib Dems, Conservatives, Women’s Equality Party and UKIP. Still to come of the parties represented in the last session at Holyrood are the SNP and Labour, though both have trailed elements of their proposals, Labour in most detail.  The other party getting some coverage whose manifesto is not out yet (I think) is RISE.

I’m about to start looking at what each party is saying about student funding and access to HE.  As I’m not sure how quickly I’ll get round to that, for readers interested in all this here’s a table setting out the issues I’ll be looking for, as a sign of what sort of priorities and understanding each party brings to the debate.  It’s a bit clunky on-line, so it’s attached as a document here:    Policy table SP elections 2016.

The table explains why each item is included, but also includes my best effort at the argument against. Mostly I agree with the arguments in favour (I think that’s allowed, on my own blog).  The counter-arguments have been drawn from things said by Ministers, other discussions I’ve seen or taken part in and occasionally I have added a point which I’ve not heard made but seems an obvious one. In a few cases, I can’t identify a good counter-argument (other than cost, and not even that always).

The table constitutes, I suppose, a sort of manifesto of my own for student support: it mainly summarises issues picked up somewhere on this site. Some of these points are too detailed to make it into any manifesto but are still included in the list just in case. Also, there are various things here that would be good to do in principle, but in reality choices always need to be made.  Clearly no party could therefore realistically be expected to pick up more than a few of these things – but their choices should be revealing, when set against this list.

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