Because the Conservative party didn't get enough seats (they got 319 and they needed 326 seats to win outright), they are now in a coalition with the DUP, so won't be leading alone.
The Conservative party made several promises during their election campaign, many of which were aimed at students. Of course, now they’re working with the DUP things may change and some pledges could now need to be tweaked or even completely thrown out.
This is what, in theory, students will get now that the Conservatives don’t have to move out of Downing Street, (with the DUP as their next-door neighbours) ….
Funding is one of the most important factors for most students considering university, so the Conservatives said they’d review what’s currently available to you to ensure it’s value for money.
In fact, the Conservatives want to generally build up the funds of universities across the UK so that students have options, so there could be more to come on this particular issue.
More Specialist Courses
In order to address skills gaps, as well as demands in certain sectors, the Conservatives will set up Institutes of Technology. These institutes will provide you with specialist courses at degree level (and above) and will be available in every major city in England.
Student Loan Exemptions
You currently have to repay your student loan when you earn over £21,000 a year, but if you
become a teacher, and teach a subject not many people are teaching (for example, science), you’ll have your student debt cleared after five years. Not only this, but if you become a teacher, you’ll also receive “dedicated support” throughout your career.
The Conservatives hope this will encourage more students to enter the teaching profession as it’s currently getting harder to recruit them.
Raising Minimum Wage
At university, you may have to take on a part-time job to fund your studies, your partying lifestyle or just to have more than the “Tesco value” brand in your cupboard. The current minimum wage is £7.50 an hour, and the Conservatives have said they’ll raise this by 60% of median earnings by 2020.
Maximum Fee Universities to Contribute
Any universities that want to charge the maximum of £9,250 a year to its students must help state schools financially. This will involve universities either sponsoring academics or funding schools that are free to attend.
Although it’s not just maximum fee universities that will be expected to help out. The Conservatives are also keen for universities and independent schools generally to help run state schools and have good relationships with them.
What Did the DUP Promise Students?
Unlike many of the other political parties, the DUP didn’t pledge to abolish or do anything to tuition fees, making them an ideal party for the Conservatives to link up with, as their promises don’t clash.
The DUP’s main student-based pledge was to ensure you’re ready for a modern economy by introducing a “digital skills revolution” in schools, colleges and universities.
They also pledged to increase the national living wage, meaning more money in your pocket if you choose to work and study at the same time.
Their final pledge which would affect students is their promise to create 50,000 new jobs by 2021, so hopefully once you graduate the world of work won’t be a difficult place to enter!
So, lots of promises that will affect you. Now we’ve FINALLY got a party officially in power for another five years, time will tell how many of these pledges will become reality and how successful this coalition becomes…