UKIP’s manifesto has pledged that the party would waive tuition fees for students in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine, and “review which educational institutions are eligible to enrol international students”.
The party says in its manifesto, published on 15 April, that it will “drop the arbitrary 50 per cent target for school leavers going to university. We will not increase the current level of undergraduate courses until we can be sure there are sufficient vacancies in the economy to provide at least two-thirds of students with skilled graduate jobs.”
It adds: “We will also encourage students to choose careers that will help fill the current skills gap, to both benefit Britain and set them on the path to a solid, prosperous career.”
And the manifesto continues: “UK students taking approved degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM), mainly at universities funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England, will not have to repay their tuition fees. This is on condition that they work in their discipline and pay tax in the UK for at least five years, after they complete their degrees.”
On EU students, the manifesto says: “We are currently obliged to give tuition fee loans to EEA students as a condition of our EU membership, but as of March 2013, only 11 per cent of EU-domiciled students were making any repayments. As student loans include a huge subsidy from the taxpayer and because repayment rates are so low, we will not give tuition fee loans to EEA students when we leave the EU.”
On international students, UKIP says: “Because students are in Britain only on a temporary basis, we will categorise them separately in immigration figures.”
It adds: “All non-UK undergraduate and postgraduate students will be required to maintain private health insurance for the period of their study.”
The UKIP manifesto also says the party would “review which educational institutions are eligible to enrol international students and prevent abuse of the student visa system. Students not attending courses will have their visas withdrawn and colleges not reporting absentees will be barred from accepting international students.”