Nicol Stephen at National Union of Students Scotland forum

July 21, 2000

Meanwhile, Nicol Stephen, Scotland's deputy minister for enterprise and lifelong learning faced the massed ranks of Scottish student officers, writes Olga Wojtas.

In a ground-breaking display of listening government, he spent an hour at a forum hosted by the National Union of Students Scotland to discuss student finance.

This was the first in a series of summer meetings with students and pupils, part of the Scottish Executive's consultations in the wake of the Cubie inquiry.

The students insisted a more utopian prospect would come from implementing the Cubie proposals in full, but Mr Stephen pleaded budgetary constraints. He said the Pounds 10,000 earnings threshold for paying the graduate endowment was set by Westminster.

He pledged to have talks with student leaders over when and how to disseminate information.

More than 440 people have now signed a web-based petition urging the Scottish Parliament to implement the Cubie proposals on student support in full. It is sponsored by Napier Students Association and the NUS Scotland.

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