Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Students - doncha love em?

I have just returned from attendance at a demonstration organised by Josh MacAlister (Labour party member, president of Edinburgh University Students Association).
I was delighted to see so many students there supporting the SNP Government in its determination to rid Scotland's students of the Graduate Endowment Tuition Fee. I was also delighted to meet Kezia Dugdale (Labour spinner) who told me that everything in the SNP briefing being handed out was "factually accurate, but ..." Her point was that there aren't all that many part-time students claiming a student loan.

Does that mean that we shouldn't give them a grant? The transformation from loans to grants is to begin with part-time students. Scotland is changing for the better, lets keep going.

Here's the briefing which Kezia said was factually accurate (cheers for your support, by the way):

What the SNP Scottish Government is doing in Higher Education

The SNP believes that access to education should be based on the ability to learn, not the ability to pay.

Scrapping the Graduate Endowment Tuition Fee

The SNP Government intends to scrap the Graduate Endowment Tuition Fee introduced by Labour and the Liberal Democrats. The Bill to do this is before Parliament now. To get this Bill passed and remove this unfair burden from Scottish students will need the support of other parties. MSPs from those other parties should be encouraged to support the SNP Government in this.

Grants not Loans

John Swinney’s budget statement made it clear that the SNP Government is continuing to move towards grants instead of loans for Scotland’s students, starting with part-time students.

Investing in our students

The SNP Government is investing £509.1 million in the Student Awards Agency for Scotland this year.

Investing in our Universities and Colleges

The SNP Government will be investing £1.673 billion in the Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council this year - £40 million more than was invested last year.

Investing in the Future for Universities and Colleges

By 2010/11, investment in our universities and colleges through the Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council will be £1.812 billion per year – higher than it has ever been before, thanks to the SNP Government – £5.24 billion over the CSR period, and £100 million capital investment in the first year

All of this in spite of the tightest spending settlement Scotland has ever had under devolution and in spite of the opposition parties wasting £500 million on one tramline in Edinburgh earlier this year.

Briefing by SNP research staff. Figures from Scottish Government budget -
See the woman standing to the right with the yellow umbrella? She thinks I'm cynical. Me - cynical - I ask you!

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