A new report from the Auditor General for Scotland has shown a 120 per cent increase in student debt in Scotland over the past 10 years.
The research indicates that the figure has risen from £2.5 billion in 2011 to £5.5 billion as of last year.
The briefing report ‘Student Loans’ published by Audit Scotland, also shows that students from deprived areas tend to borrow more than those from less deprived areas.
It recommended an investment of £21 million in 2019/20 to expand and increase bursary support for students from the most deprived backgrounds, as well as a bursary of £8,100 for care experienced students.
It also called for further education bursary support to increase and, from 2019/20, all eligible further education students aged 18 and over to receive a guaranteed bursary award.
NUS Scotland President Liam McCabe said: “This report from the Auditor General is stark reading for students across Scotland that student debt continues to sky-rocket.
“It is Scotland’s poorest students that are carrying most of this burden, at an unacceptable average of £23,200 in student loans.
“Whilst free tuition helps mitigate Scottish student debt levels – a policy that NUS Scotland will always protect and defend – this cannot be used as an excuse for continued levels of increased student debt.
“Whilst investment in non-repayable bursaries for students most in need has increased, including the continued uptake of the care-experienced bursary, the Scottish Government must recognise this clearly does not go far enough and provide more financial support to Scotland’s students.
“They must now deliver on the recommendations of the Student Support Review – now three years on – to improve student support and realise our shared ambition of a Real Living Wage for all of Scotland’s students, helping alleviate poverty, deprivation and debt for students across the country.”