The Scottish Executive will next week unveil plans to get rid of the anomalies in student support between higher and further education. It will publish its long-awaited full response to the Cubie committee's proposals as a consultation paper.
Nicol Stephen, Scotland's deputy minister for enterprise and lifelong learning, said: "We are trying to move towards a consistent approach for all post-16 students." He predicted that a possible long-term solution could come through the government's Individual Learning Accounts.
The executive will consult on standardising the means test for family contributions in further and higher education.
Mr Stephen stressed that colleges and universities would not lose out following the shake-up of the Scottish student finance system, which includes the abolition of tuition fees for Scottish students and the underwriting of fourth-year fees for incoming students from elsewhere in the UK.