Build our colleges back up
We will build back up the role of our colleges for people seeking new skills. The cuts to colleges in the last five years have cost hundreds of college lecturers their jobs and deprived potential students of opportunities.
We will invest money from our Penny for Education to take college funding up to record levels.
Our priorities for new courses will be for part-time provision for those who are in work or have caring commitments, new skills for people wanting to change career, and basic learning skills for those trying to enter the workforce for the first time.
We will provide £30 million of new bursaries and support for students in higher and further education.
This will be used to meet the recommendation from the Commission on Widening Access for the new Commissioner for Fair Access to determine what level of individual bursary support is needed to attract students from poorer backgrounds to higher education.
We will also give young people leaving care a full non-repayable bursary to support their studies and widen access, as recommended by the commission, and take forward the other recommendations to give all people in our society the opportunity to succeed.
Our additional support will also allow us to protect the bursary paid to nursing and midwifery students, and to recognise that the demands of these courses make it difficult for students to take outside work.
Overall, this new support will reverse the tide of the SNP’s policy. They were elected on a promise to “dump the debt” but have all but wiped out the value of grants and replaced them with loans.
We will raise the threshold for repaying student loans from £17,495 to £21,000, cutting the monthly payments for graduates.
For college students we will add £5 million to bursary support for colleges to meet the annual shortfall they are experiencing and make sure more students can access courses.
We will review the position of carers attending colleges to make sure they have the support and flexibility they need.
No tuition fees for students.