Scottish students will benefit from the best funding package available in the UK with enhanced support and free tuition, Education Secretary Michael Russell has announced.
On top of current benefits such as free tuition, the new package, to be introduced in 2013 includes:
- An annual minimum income of £7,250, through a combination of bursaries and loans, for students with a family income of less than £17,000
- All students, irrespective of circumstances, will be eligible for a student loan of £4,500 a year – as requested by NUS Scotland who want to see more cash in student pockets
- Part-time students with a personal income of less than £25,000 will now receive full support for tuition fees as a proportion of the full-time fee equivalent
Mr Russell made the announcement at Glasgow University’s REACH programme which helps young people realise their ambition to attend university. He said:
“Scotland is the only country in the UK with free higher education. It is the only country to see an increase in the number of young people applying for courses as well as the highest number of students ever accepted into our universities on Higher results day. This is tremendous news and a clear vindication of our policy of no tuition fees.
“Today, I am delighted to announce changes which will enhance the offer by ensuring that Scottish students can access the best and most straightforward package of student support in the UK.
“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.
“A minimum income of £7,250 will be available to those from the lowest income households and I expect this will benefit around 45,000 students each year. While improved availability of loans and equal support for part-time students, alongside free tuition, will help ensure that all those with potential can go to university and achieve their goals, in turn playing a key role in improving our economy in years to come.”
The revised arrangements for student support will be introduced for all students in academic year 2013/14.
Part-time students from the lowest income households will now be able to have the full cost of their tuition fees up to the equivalent rate of fee support for full-time courses met by the Scottish Government. This brings them into line with the arrangements for full-time students.
Allied Health Profession students (e.g. radiographers, physiotherapists, dieticians etc.) will be brought into the new simplified student support package from 2013-14. Furthermore, medical and dental students will benefit from the main undergraduate support arrangements for the duration of their study – usually a five year programme that previously involved less generous support arrangements in the fifth year.
The REACH programme for the west of Scotland is funded by the Scottish Funding Council and co-ordinated by Glasgow University. It works with 92 schools raising awareness and encouraging, supporting and preparing secondary school pupils from S4-S6 with the potential to study Dentistry, Law, Medicine and Veterinary Science.