NICOLA Sturgeon will today underline the SNP’s commitment to supporting students through the pandemic and into the recovery – by driving forward the Widening Access agenda and expanding student support.

Campaigning in Edinburgh today and ahead of an NUS Scotland online debate this evening, the SNP leader will confirm key commitments for students that a re-elected SNP government will take forward, including:

  • Protecting free tuition and maintaining the Education Maintenance Allowance
  • Implementing the recommendations of the Commissioner for Widening Access, including a review of funding for post-graduate students
  • Expanding student support over the next three years to reach the equivalent of the Real Living Wage – with as much as possible being done through grants
  • A student mental health action plan – including action to tackle waiting times and ensure equity of access
  • Within the constraints of the devolved settlement, fighting for a fairer deal for young workers against exploitative zero-hours contracts, unpaid internships and workplace discrimination
  • Advocating for Scotland’s inclusion in Erasmus+ – but also create a Scottish programme of exchange to provide mobility and co-operation opportunities in higher education, vocational education and training, adult education, youth and sport

Sturgeon is expected to say: “During this pandemic, students have had to cope with many challenges previous generations could never have envisaged. I promise the young people of Scotland that I will do everything I possibly can to make sure you do not carry the legacy of this pandemic into your adult lives.

"By giving both votes to the SNP, students can elect a government absolutely committed to supporting students through uncertain times – and to maintaining an education system which is based on the ability to learn, and not the ability to pay.”