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NUS Scotland welcomes 'huge step forward' on student support
The Scottish Government has announced a new minimum income for the poorest students of £7250, a minimum support package of £4500 regardless of income, and part-time fees abolished for those earning less than £25,000.
The Scottish Government announcement delivers on another of NUS Scotland's key pre-election asks as part of its Reclaim Your Voice campaign.
This will make Scotland's package of student support the best in the UK.
Robin Parker, NUS Scotland President, said: “The announcements today are a huge step forward and a victory for years of campaigning by countless students across Scotland.
"From next year, Scotland will have the best support package in the whole of the UK available to college and university students studying at higher education level.
"With a £7250 minimum income for the poorest students, a £4500 minimum support for all, and part-time fees abolished for the poorest part-time students, this is very welcome news indeed.
“We’ve always said that getting an education should be about your ability, not your ability to pay. If students don’t have enough money to get by then we know their studies can suffer, too often taking on too much paid work, getting into commercial debt, or worst of all dropping out.
"We need to provide enough support to students in order to get the most out of our most talented people, and we hope these announcements will do just that.
“Abolishing fees, protecting places and improving student support are the foundations on which we can achieve fair access.
"We will now work incredibly hard to build on this progress to ensure higher education in Scotland becomes genuinely open to people from all backgrounds, achieving fair access based on your potential not your background, and ensuring that the announcements from Government today are met by action from institutions over the coming months and years to achieve fair access."
On part-time fees announcement, Robin Parker said: “We’ve said for a long time that it’s unfair that part-time student pay fees, while full-time ones do not, particularly when part-time students are more likely to be from poorer backgrounds.
"Abolishing fees for part-time students earning under £25,000 is therefore great news for part-time students and great news for fair access in Scotland.
“Part-time study is likely to become even more important as we see demographic change and a more flexible learner journey in Scotland.
"This makes it even more the right time to be making a move on abolishing fees for the poorest part-time students."