How could the election outcome impact on the future of Britain’s students?
With The National Union of Students having launched it’s “payback time” campaign against MPs who broke their 2010 election promise over tuition fees, Simon Thompson, Director of leading student accommodation portal, accommodationforstudents.com, looks at how various party policies could impact the future of Britain’s students.
Fees – The coalition government’s decision to raise tuition fees in England to a maximum of £9000 sparked numerous protects up and down the country. Now, if elected, Labour is pledging to reduce fees to £6000. Mr Thompson says “Many students leaving university this summer will graduate with debts in excess of £40,000 thanks to the hike in fees following the last General Election. Everyone deserves an education, not just the well-off and regardless of which party comes into power, tuition fees need to be addressed if we are to maintain previous levels of students entering into higher education.”
Rent Controls & Mansion Tax – It is thought that proposed rent controls and mansion tax could significantly reduce the supply of rental properties in London and deter overseas buyers from investing, with an estimated two thirds of UK landlords predicted to leave the private rented sector in this instance.
“If the supply of shared housing is reduced, particularly in London, more students will be forced into private halls of residence. While private halls offer a valuable option for some students, they currently only account for just over 100,000 bed spaces and yet around 1.5 million students seek somewhere to live from the private accommodation market each year. The majority of students continue to look for the ‘traditional’ student house partly because it is much cheaper – the ‘average’ student house will cost the student £79.27 per week as opposed to £131.91 in a private hall, a figure which will rise significantly if the supply of shared housing is reduced” says Thompson.
Immigration Laws – Attracting and retaining high skilled international students who wish to stay and contribute is key to boosting the UKs economy while promoting a welcoming international landscape. According to Mr Thompson, more needs to be done to copy the approach adopted by the US which enabled students to stay and work for up to two years after their degree. “This is why here in the UK we have seen a significant reduction in the number of Asian students wishing to study here, particularly from India. By comparison, the 2014/2015 graduate profile for Stanford University, one of the world’s leading teaching and research universities in America, contained 33.3% international students with the majority (58.8%) coming from Asia*.
*According to The Stanford Review