68 per cent of students with a student loan are likely to vote for a political party offering to bring back maintenance loans in this general election, according to a recent survey by the NUS
Students aged 23 to 29 years old and 30 to 49 years old, in particular, are also likely to support parties tackling this issue, regardless of whether they have a loan or not, giving politicians pause for thought and added credence to the need for a national education service, that addresses lifelong needs.
The survey of students across the UK, looked at issues of concern to students, aged 18 to 50 plus, in this general election, and asked them how likely or unlikely they were to vote for candidates supporting certain measures.
Students in Scotland, Yorkshire and Humberside and North West England were most likely to support candidates offering to bring back maintenance loans (69 per cent, 68 per cent and 67 per cent respectively) with 61 per cent of all students likely to be influenced by proposed action on this matter.
Higher education, masters’ students and recent graduates were significantly more likely to support such candidates, as well as those studying full time.
Claire Sosienski Smith, NUS Vice President (Higher Education) said: “The education system has been broken for so long that a lot of the work we must do is raise the expectations of students that an education doesn’t need to bankrupt you, send you into serious debt or leave you abnormally stressed about money.”Even without the stark figure, like our Homes Fit for Study Report showing that 1 in 6 students are unable to keep up with their rent payments, we know that a student finance system based on individual debt is fundamentally flawed.
“Students taking part in NUS’ General Election survey reinforced this with 2 out of 3 with a student finance loan stating that they did not have enough money left to pay for everything once they had paid their rent. Almost half (46%) say they have to use their own savings to support themselves when their loan runs out, with a similar proportion (43%) relying on an overdraft facility.”Education is a right and not a privilege,” continued Miss Sosienski Smith, “and reinstating maintenance grants is the first step to readdressing the destruction that market logics and the creation of “healthy competition” has wrought on our education system.”We have a chance with this election to show how vital it is that education policy is created that can benefit all students, rather than just the fortunate few.”