Student support boost welcomed by National Union

The Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, Mike Russell, announced last week an increase in the support package for college and university (under and post-graduate).

Bursaries will not be uprated with inflation, with loans uprated by £250. Furthermore, postgraduate students in Scotland can now receive loans of up to £4500 for living costs.

Gordon Maloney, President of NUS Scotland, said: “The announcements today are very good news for students in Scotland. We have asked for increased support for college, university and postgraduate students and this announcement is a big step forward.

“Students need enough money to get by to be able to concentrate on their studies. Too often, students in colleges and universities have to take on multiple part-time jobs, or go deep into commercial debt, to avoid dropping out. While, of course, grants and bursaries would be better than loans, worst of all would be no increases in support at
all.

“The increase in postgraduate support is particularly welcome news, given that at the moment postgraduate students have to self-fund their way through their studies, or borrow commercial bank loans. Hopefully opening up access to living cost loans will open up new opportunities to people from poorer backgrounds towards gaining postgraduate qualifications that employers increasingly
demand.

“These announcements are a great step forward but there is still more work to do to get student support up to where it needs to be. We will continue to press the Scottish Government to increase student support even further, including through grants and bursaries, between now and the budget being finalised early next year.”