SNPs £35million cut to Student support sees debt rise by 65%

For Immediate Release – 29th October 2014

The release of the SAAS Higher Education Student Support in Scotland has revealed that total amount spent on student grants has fallen by 35% in the last academic year. In the same period levels of student debt have increased by 65%.

Eurydice, part of the European Commission, recently also published a round-up showing that at just £1,750 a year Scotland now offers the lowest maximum value of student grant of any jurisdiction in Western Europe.

Responding to these figures, Dr Richard Simpson MSP who has served as a President of the Student Council at Edinburgh University, President of the Scottish Union of Students, Honorary President of the Heriot Watt Students Association, and a member of the Court of Heriot Watt for nine years said:

“The SNP came to power in 2007 promising to cut student debt. We now know that they have made Scotland the country with the lowest level of student support in Western Europe”

“The fall last year at 35% and the resulting increase in debt of 65% shows the true face of this government.”

“There is not a single fiscal policy which benefits the less well off, more than the better off and this is just one more example.”

“Hell may freeze over before the SNP introduce tuition fees but these figures and the 140,000 cut in college places shows the practical effects of this policy.”

“Labour ensured good maintenance support through the graduate endowment scheme that the modest payment by the 50% of graduates who could afford it and were not either poor, disabled or mature graduates. The SNP with Liberal Democrat support abolished the scheme set up after the Cubie commission without thought for the consequences.”

“Despite heavy tuition fees in England, which Scottish Labour would not countenance, the proportion of students from poorer backgrounds entering Higher education is greater than in Scotland.”