Thursday 23-02-2017 - 16:32
“Countless students are in desperate need of fairer funding, but this budget was a missed opportunity to address that”
“We must ensure the necessary opportunities and support are in place for students here and now”
Commenting on the Scottish Government’s final budget for 2017/18, Vonnie Sandlan, NUS Scotland President, said:
“It’s clear that countless students are in desperate need of fairer funding, but this budget was a missed opportunity to address that – and listen to the voices of the thousands of students who took that message direct to politicians. While it’s really positive to see increased college funding and funding for mental health services, the budget failed to deliver certainty for students of whether they’ll receive any financial support while studying or plug the obvious holes in the system.
“We cannot overlook the importance of investing in education, and particularly students and young people. Indeed, in recent weeks, we’ve seen figures from the Scottish Funding Council show a drop in students from our most deprived backgrounds accessing universities, along with a worrying squeeze on the number of part time students in our colleges. This highlights the urgent need for investment in fair access, and the resources to deliver it, and ensure those students are properly supported.
“One area of really good news is the increased funding for mental health services, particularly for children and young people. That’s a really positive move, and one that NUS Scotland called for in the run up to the Scottish elections – but the Scottish Government must ensure that the needs of our diverse student population are reflected in the distribution of this budget, and that funding is met by appropriate support in the new mental health strategy when it is published.
“Now the budget is final, universities and colleges will be looking to the SFC for their final funding allocations. It’s vital that some of the additional funding that colleges receive is used to boost the outdated, discretionary financial support system that college students face. The ongoing student support review should address the fundamental problems in the long-term, current students continue to struggle by on the overstretched, underfunded support system. That means we cannot simply look to the long-term, but must ensure the necessary opportunities and support are in place for students here and now.”
Contact Fergus Boden, NUS Scotland Press and Influencing Officer