26 January 2020

The Student Support Review, released at the end of 2017, recommended significant changes to student financial support.

While the Scottish Government’s response was weak, and they have continued to ignore the Review’s central recommendation of a Minimum Student Income, they did announce a Care Experienced Students Bursary.

At the time, Nicola Sturgeon said it was equivalent to the real living wage of £8.45 per hour.

However, this has since gone up and is now £9.30 per hour, yet the amount available through the care experienced student bursary has failed to increase.

Had the bursary kept pace with the real living wage, it would now be worth over £8,800 – £700 more than the amount currently offered (£8,100).

When asked whether the government had plans to increase the bursary via a written question from Iain Gray, Minister Richard Lochhead failed to confirm that they would.

Commenting, Scottish Labour education spokesperson Iain Gray said:

“The government’s refusal to confirm this bursary will be increased to reflect the real living wage is disappointing.

“Some of our most vulnerable students are missing out on an additional £700 that could make all the difference while they study.

“While Labour supports free tuition, students must have the financial support necessary when they actually get to college and university.

“Scottish Labour would reform student support, beginning by implementing the Minimum Student Income which the Parliament voted for last year, but the government has failed to deliver on.

“Labour will continue to keep the pressure on the SNP until they ensure our education system works for the many, not the few.”
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