Friday 13-04-2018 - 09:41
People across Scotland have sent over 18,000 emails to Scotland’s politicians, including First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, as part of NUS Scotland's Budget for Better campaign.
The emails, and our wider campaign, call for the Scottish Government to reform the financial support available to students in Scotland. Particularly, we've been calling for increased investment in bursary support for both further and higher education students, and an increase in to the student loan repayment threshold in Scotland.
We've seen actions taken on campuses and town centres across Scotland, with students, staff, and members of the public signing up to email their eight MSPs and the First Minister. Our email campaign has been backed up by students meeting and lobbying their local MSPs, and has gained backing from Scotland’s education staff unions.
Budget for Better follows last year’s report from the independent review into student support in Scotland, chaired by CEO of Virgin Money Jayne-Anne Gadhia. We sat on the review's board, and back a number of the recommendations which would improve the financial support available to Scotland’s students - including the final model which would give increase bursary support for the poorest students in both further and higher education.
The Scottish Government has yet to fully respond to the report, but we're calling for their response to include meaningful reform to the student support system – including much needed investment in bursaries for the poorest students.
Talking about the campaign's support, our president Luke Humberstone said “It’s become increasingly clear in recent years that Scotland’s student support system is broken. Higher education students from the poorest backgrounds are taking on the most debt, while students in our colleges are being forced to get by on a system which financially discriminates against them based on their age and level of study – completely ignoring their needs.
“MSPs will know from their inboxes the strength of feeling about our broken student support system. In the last few months we’ve spoken to students, parents, and members of the public who are all clear – Scotland’s students, particularly those from the poorest backgrounds, deserve better.
“Our education system has huge potential to be a global example, demonstrating that you can create a quality education system which is equally accessible to everybody in society, whatever your background. Free tuition and the current drive to widen access are a good start, but now our world leading education system needs to be matched with a world leading student support system.
“The Scottish Government made promising steps towards fixing the system with the announcement of last year’s independent review into student support. The report has set out a range of proposals to achieve a fairer support system. It’s time for them to put their money where their mouth is and invest in Scotland’s students.”