News

Financial support for students

Published: 23 Dec 2020 16:35

Extra £5 million to help those facing hardship.

An additional £5 million is being made available to students who are experiencing financial difficulties as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

Students across Scotland can apply to their college or university’s Discretionary Fund for help if they are struggling to meet accommodation and other costs. 

This extra funding means that since the start of the pandemic, the Scottish Government has provided £15 million in additional support for students. This is on top of the usual Further Education and Higher Education Discretionary Funds that are paid out each year.

Further and Higher Education Minister Richard Lochhead said:

“We recognise that the COVID-19 crisis has caused additional financial difficulties for many students. Those who were reliant on part-time jobs may have found themselves out of work and need additional financial support.

“This extra funding, which adds to the support we have already made available, may relieve some of the pressure for those facing hardship.”

NUS Scotland President Matt Crilly said:

“Students have told us that money is one of their biggest worries and we remain concerned that the impact this year may be even greater than last. We welcome that the Scottish Government has made an additional £5 million available to further and higher education students facing hardship to meet rental and other costs.”

This extra financial support will be available to colleges and universities in January.

After the festive break, students will have a staggered return to campuses over at least six weeks to reduce the risks of transmission of COVID-19. The Scottish Government continues to work with key stakeholders on student accommodation issues.    

Background

The extra £5 million support will be distributed  through existing Discretionary Funds via the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) and the Scottish Funding Council (SFC).  If funds are not used at the end of the year, they will be returned to the Scottish Government by institutions via the standard annual procedures.  

The Scottish Government continues to work closely with the sector to identify any further support needed, having acted quickly to deliver an additional £2.2 million to higher education students at college and university, on top of a supplementary redistributed £569k Discretionary Fund. Since then, we have delivered £11.4 million of Discretionary Funds and support for higher education students, and £2 million to support further education students at college via the Scottish Funding Council.