NUS Scotland: Budget was missed opportunity to fix student support

Wednesday 24-02-2016 - 15:57
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Following the confirmation of the Scottish Government’s 2016-17 budget, Vonnie Sandlan, NUS Scotland President, commented:

“While it is a really positive move that the Scottish Budget has protected funding for colleges, which is recognition of the important role they play in our education system, this budget was a missed opportunity to address some of the big inequalities and problems that exist in the student support system. Ahead of today’s vote, NUS Scotland, and students across Scotland, have been campaigning for increased investment in the FE support system, which we know is overstretched and underfunded, year after year. While the budget hasn’t addressed that, the campaign continues, as we look ahead to the Scottish Parliament Elections.”

“Scotland’s colleges play a huge role in, and serve those from, some of our most disadvantaged communities. That’s why great to see their budgets have been protected after previously facing years of cuts. However, as things stand, college students face a discretionary, postcode lottery, support system, with no guarantee of how much money they’ll receive, or if there’ll even be any money left for them at all. Without this vital support, students are being forced to take on commercial debt, work unreasonable hours, or drop out of education altogether. This is simply a huge waste of some of our brightest talent, and a shameful loss to the country. At the same time, there’s still much more work to do be done in higher education support, ensuring that students get increased grant support, with a reduced reliance on debt, and better efforts to tackle problems of mental ill-health among students.”
“As we look ahead to this year’s elections, and the next Parliament, no MSP or candidate should allow the problems that we know exist, and students have long campaigning on, to continue. We need to see a system where no student is left uncertain of whether they’ll have enough money to live on, or being forced to choose between unmanageable levels of debt and having enough money to get by, a choice which does nothing but add significant and additional pressures on them. Going into the Scottish Parliament elections, we’re calling for politicians from all parties to outline how they’ll fix the problems that exist in the support on offer, and what they’ll do to ensure students receive the support they need.”


NUS Scotland

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Scotland, budget, shaping scotland's future, #SP16,

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