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Scottish Government moves (a little) on student grant

May 15, 2015

The Scottish Government has just announced a small uplift in its grant for full-time HE students (by £125, for everyone up to £24,000) plus a restoration of the old threshold for maximum grant, back to £19,000 – it has been £17,000 for the past 2 years.

The adjustment to the rates after the formal announcement last month means that all SAAS’s printed material will now be overtaken.  But web-based information is probably more used these days, so that’s not worth too much fuss.  This is what erratum slips are for.

Still, it begs the question why this relatively modest change couldn’t have been sorted out in time.  As this recent post argued, speculating on whether something like this might be on the cards, it’s very unusual to revisit the arrangements after they are announced – and they were already exceptionally late. This bursary increase is a small step back in the right direction.  The threshold increase will help a group who lost out particularly badly in the 2013 cuts, who went from £2,640 grant to £1,000.  They will now get £1,875.  But at £19,000, grant will drop to £1,250.  At £24,000, from £1,250 to £500.  The losses since 2012 remain large.

[Update: Around £35 million has been cut from grant since 2012.  These changes are likely to cost around £7 million, restoring just 20% of that loss.]

The announcement doesn’t make it clear whether the increase is for all full-time HE students or just those on YSB  (whatever happened to information like that in the notes to editors?).  If  mature students are also to benefit, they will see their grant rise from £750 to £875 a year.

Update: the NUS response is here.  Broadly positive, while stressing scope for more to be done.

The announcement comes in the same week as  a PQ response from the Cabinet Secretary suggesting movement on another aspect of the 2013 reforms, about which I wrote earlier today: see here.

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