Greer urges action as bursary support for students falls 27.3% since 2008/9

The Scottish Greens are urging Scottish Ministers to take action after statistics published today (30 Oct) show that bursary support for students is down 27.3% since 2008/9.

The Scottish Government has recently launched a new bursary for Care Experience Students and raised to £18,999 the household income threshold for maximum bursaries, worth £1,875 per year for young students. However, bursary support remains below what it was worth before Scottish Government cuts in 2013. Five years ago, the value of the maximum bursary for young students was £2,640 and the household income threshold was £19,310.

Ross Greer MSP, Scottish Green spokesperson for Education, said:

“The best way to ensure that students from lower income backgrounds can access and stay in in higher education is to provide bursaries which actually cover their living costs. No student can live on £1,875 maximum bursary, and it is not fair to expect them to take out loans when others from wealthier backgrounds can rely on their parents for financial support. Today’s report from SAAS lays bare the continuing impact of the Scottish Government’s decision to cut bursary support back in 2013.

“We must expand bursaries to cover the full living costs of students if we’re serious about tackling the inequalities in higher education, particularly the number of young people from less privileged backgrounds who make it but drop out because they simply cannot afford it. New measures such as the bursary for care experienced students are a step in the right direction, but we need to see more substantive action from the Scottish Government to undo the damage they have already done.”