David Cocozza, a 24-year-old film studies undergraduate, is a city council candidate in Canterbury and the mature students’ officer at Kent’s students’ union.
He said that the Greens were the only party that was serious about ensuring the UK has a “well-funded free education system to shape and build the next leaders of the world”.
“We want every young person to have access to a quality education, no matter what their family’s income,” Mr Cocozza said.
“That’s why we’re opposed to the government’s privatisation and commercialisation of schools, colleges and universities which is making access to a good education dependent on financial privilege.
“By scrapping unfair and oppressive tuition fees, replacing them with student grants to meet living costs, reintroducing the education maintenance allowance for 16 to 18-year-olds, and ensuring university students are provided with quality, affordable accommodation [we] will ensure that anyone and everyone who wants to access higher education actually can.”
Mr Cocozza said his priorities would include promoting the take-up of science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects at universities, particularly among young women.
The Greens’ reshaped front bench, which has a 50-50 gender split, was announced as the party took a small lead over the Liberal Democrats in an opinion poll.
The poll by Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft put the Greens on 11 per cent to the Liberal Democrats’ 9 per cent – adding weight, the Greens said, to their demand that they be included in televised general election debates.