Owain James, president of the National Union of Students, faces a tough fight to be re-elected at next week's national conference. Mr James will go head-to-head with national treasurer Helen Aspell in a race that promises to be extremely close.
Both candidates have support from universities around the country. Their key policy difference is that while Mr James seeks targeted maintenance grants and the abolition of fees to tackle student poverty, Ms Aspell calls for a full-scale return to free education.
The Tories are also feeling more confident about their place in student politics and are fielding a slate of candidates for the first time in years. Conservative Future candidates include Paul Bristow, standing for national secretary; Peter Bellini, standing for vice-president, education; and Rebecca Stevens, standing for vice-president, welfare.