Green Party policy on scrapping university tuition fees has been a longstanding element of the party’s vision for university education, and the Greens have now announced that they would write off all student loan company debts if elected.
Speaking at the ITV Leader’s Debate, party leader Natalie Bennett said: “We in the Green Party not only want zero university tuition fees, we also want to pay off student loan company debts so that people don’t have that weight of debt”.
Bennett stated that funding for university education should come from “general progressive taxation” while describing education as “a public good”.
Speaking to Concrete in January Natalie Bennett said that they would be announcing plans to help current students paying £9,000 tuition fees: “it would be utterly unreasonable to have a small group who were unlucky enough to be born in the wrong year [pay £9,000 tuition fees] whereas those born in the next year are in a different situation.
She said at the time that there would be no ‘lost generation’ if the Green Party were in power.
According to the Green leader the party also intends to “scrap the National Student Survey and other forms of evaluation which perpetuate cultures of ‘customer satisfaction’ and quality control”, demonstrating the party’s commitment to moving education away from its current system of being focussed almost entirely on getting students through exams.
Green Party education policy further extends to increasing public expenditure on higher education from 0.7% up to 1.1%. Bennett pointed out in the leader’s debate that estimates suggest that 73% of students will never pay off the current debts and that 45p per pound will never be repaid.
The mainstream parties appear to be overlooking that major future shortfall when the debts cannot be repaid.
These policies should help gain the student vote for a party that is proving to be popular among young voters, with polls frequently suggesting that the Greens are the second most popular party for that section of the electorate.
The full Green Party general election manifesto is due to be release over the next few days to coincide with the final few weeks before the May 7th polling day.
UEA’s constituency, Norwich South, is one of the Green’s target seats where they hope that their candidate, Lesley Grahame, will be elected.