Scottish students get further support from Holyrood

The Scottish government has unveiled a package of extra financial support for students.

August 22, 2012

The measures have been welcomed by both the National Union of Students and the University and College Union, who said that Scotland now has the best funding support for students in the UK.

As part of the package:

- Students with a family income of less than £17,000 will get annual minimum support of £7,250 through a combination of bursaries and loans.

- All students regardless of income will be eligible for a loan of £4,500 a year. Currently they are means-tested, with a £940 maximum for those with a family income of over £61,000.

- Part-time students with a personal income of less than £25,000 will be exempt from tuition fees. Currently those earning less than £22,000 can apply for a grant of £500 a year.

Scottish students studying full-time in their home country already pay no tuition fees. From September, English students will have to pay up to £9,000 a year to study in the UK.

However, Scottish students will be charged up to £9,000 if they study in the UK outside Scotland.

Scotland's education secretary Michael Russell said: "We know that studying at university costs money and that this can put some people off from applying. That is why I have worked with our partners, including NUS Scotland, to review our system of student support."

Mary Senior, the UCU's official for Scotland, said that the announcement was a "real shot in the arm" for students.

Robin Parker, NUS Scotland president, said: "We've always said that getting an education should be about your ability, not your ability to pay.

"If students don't have enough money to get by then we know their studies can suffer, too often taking on too much paid work, getting into commercial debt or, worst of all, dropping out."

He added: "We need to provide enough support to students in order to get the most out of our most talented people, and we hope these announcements will do just that."

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