Socialist Students campaigning for free education. Photo: Isai Priya

Socialist Students campaigning for free education. Photo: Isai Priya   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Noah Eden, Sheffield Socialist Students

The financial screws are tightening on students. The government is freezing the threshold when students start to repay their loans, as opposed to raising it in line with inflation, meaning they will have to pay more.

I have been an avid Socialist Students member since I joined – visiting and supporting strikes both on campus and outside of uni. Socialist Students conference, 26 February, is our chance to participate in the fight back against the unfair marketisation of universities, campaign for free, democratised and good quality higher education, and help organise the 2 March student walkout called by the National Union of Students (NUS).

Inflation is reducing the value of student loans, meaning that the government is unfairly taking £2.3 billion from students. The parental earnings threshold has been frozen at £25,000, when it should have risen to £34,000, so fewer students are receiving what they deserve in maintenance loans. On top of all this, maintenance loans are set to increase by 2.3%, which is below inflation, meaning another real-terms pay cut for students.

We can build a socialist fightback and end the conditions that we have had to endure from both Tory and Labour governments. Under Jeremy Corbyn, students got a glimmer of hope of what a fair and proper education system could look like. But Labour has returned to its Tory-lite policies under Keir Starmer.

The Socialist Students conference has moved to Birmingham. So we’ll also get a chance to campaign for Dave Nellist in the Birmingham Erdington by-election. Socialist Party member Dave Nellist is the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) candidate – standing to be a workers’ MP on a worker’s wage (see pages 8-9).

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