College students in Scotland will be able to access an Pounds 8 million child-care package from August, while graduates will be expected to contribute to the endowment scheme once they earn Pounds 10,000, the Scottish Executive confirmed this week.
The announcements come as part of the executive's full response to the 52 recommendations made in the Cubie report on student finance. They are intended to remove anomalies in student support.
Henry McLeish, minister for enterprise and lifelong learning, hoped that the child-care plans would "open the door to parents previously excluded from the benefits of further education."
Yet the proposals to cut the endowment payment threshold to Pounds 10,000 from the Pounds 25,000 ceiling initially recommended by the Cubie committee have met with some concerns.
David Bleiman, assistant general secretary of AUT Scotland, said: "We are still not convinced that the graduate endowment should be repayable at an income of Pounds 10,000.
"We intend to use the consultation period to seek further improvements."
Other measures include the first review of the means test since 1962. A third of all students resident in Scotland will be eligible for a means-tested bursary of up to Pounds 2,000, with an extra Pounds 500 loan available to the poorest students, a further 30 per cent will be able to apply to a Pounds 10-million mature students fund.