Wednesday 04-02-2015 - 16:11
NUS Scotland has today warned that the lack of additional money for college student support in the Scottish Government’s Budget Bill 2015 means we risk seeing another crisis in bursary funding.
NUS Scotland has today warned that the lack of additional money for college student support in the Scottish Government’s Budget Bill 2015 means we risk seeing another crisis in bursary funding. This year (2014/15) colleges received an initial allocation of £104m. Following reports of a large shortfall in funding available for students, an additional £3.4m was made available for college student support in December and a further £7m in January. This brought the total student support budget for colleges up to £114.4m.
The budget announcement for 2015/16 sees colleges receive £107.7m for student support, meaning a reduction of just under £7m. This follows figures released by NUS Scotland at the start of year which showed student support funds under enormous pressure.
Commenting on the budget announcement, Gordon Maloney, president of NUS Scotland, said:
“It’s disappointing that the Scottish Government has failed to find additional money, beyond inflation, for college student support next year. This means our support system for colleges will be underfunded again next year, continuing the crisis in support for college students. Since the announcement of the draft budget, thousands of students across Scotland have called on the Scottish Government to lift them out of poverty, and this budget has ignored them.
“We previously welcomed additional funding announced for college student support this year, which will provide more certainty for colleges, and students studying right now. But by not carrying that funding on in future years, the budget announced today means that college students will see a significant and damaging cut in funding for their vital bursaries next year.
“We desperately want to avoid another crisis in college student support again. Year after year, we see shortfalls in college student support, forcing students to choose between heating and eating, or getting into too much debt. That can’t go on. We must see additional funding, and reform of the system, so that college students can get the financial help they need. As we look ahead to elections this year and next, we’ll be putting that message to all politicians, and students will expect to see action.”
For more information, contact: Philip Whyte, Senior press and policy officer, 07554 451 941