More students benefit from university funding

The government wants to ensure students have a minimum income of £7,000

MORE than 130,000 students have benefitted from support from the Student Awards Agency Scotland in 2010-11, according to figures published today.

This represents an increase of 1.9 per cent from 2009-10 with a record £571.9 million being paid out in total.

The increase can be largely attributed to additional options and widened criteria for existing forms of support for students on low income.

68,960 students received non-repayable awards, an increase of 13.3 per cent from 2009-10

Commenting on the figures, Education Secretary Michael Russell said: “The Scottish Government believes that education should be based on the ability to learn, not the ability to pay and today’s figures demonstrate our commitment to widening access, with overall support increasing.

“More students on low income are benefiting from the options available, including around 18,000 independent students who received an independent student bursary of up to £1,000 for the first time and we have further plans to widen access.

“With Scottish students currently having the lowest debt levels in the UK, we plan to further simplify and better target student support. As part of our plans for post-16 reform, the Scottish Government is working towards a minimum income for our students of £7,000, with those from the lowest income families a priority.

“We are also considering additional steps to widen access, such as the introduction of new statutory duties on universities and the SFC to review patterns of participation and, where there is an imbalance, take action to correct it.”