Improving Choices in Postgraduate Education through Student Support Reform

Issued on behalf of SAAS.

The number of applications for postgraduate funding has increased by 117% for the 2017-2018 academic year, following recent Scottish Government reforms to postgraduate student support.

During a visit to Glasgow University, where postgraduate funding applications have increased by 60%, Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, Shirley-Anne Somerville welcomed the impact that the revamped student support package was making.

Changes to postgraduate student support were introduced this year following the publication of the findings of the Taught Postgraduate Review, led by Professor Bryan MacGregor from the University of Aberdeen.

It recommended the introduction of a clear and universal entitlement to student loan support for postgraduate level study.

Eligible students can now receive a loan of up to £10,000 in any taught postgraduate course up to full Masters level, at any Scottish Higher Education Institute (HEI).

Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, Shirley-Anne Somerville, said Postgraduate study can open doors to new careers and higher earnings – which has benefits for individuals, businesses and Scotland’s economy.

“This Government has made postgraduate study more affordable and more accessible with our reforms to student support.

“This has had an immediate and dramatic impact - with double the number of postgraduate students accessing new support arrangements this year compared to last.

“This is great to see and shows with the right support, at the right time and in the right places, we can help more people in Scotland achieve their full potential.”

Head of the School of Education at the University of Glasgow, Professor Trevor Gale, said "The School of Education is delighted to host this visit to the University by the Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science.

"We are particularly delighted with the Minister’s recent announcement of the Postgraduate support package that can now be used for Masters level study.

"We see significant benefits of this initiative for widening access to university for students from non-traditional backgrounds. The School of Education has a strong record in this area.

"With the introduction of this new funding arrangement, we have already experienced a dramatic increase in student numbers in our masters programs in adult education, community development and youth work."

Professor Bryan MacGregor, Executive Dean of the Business School and Vice-Principal at the University of Aberdeen, said “One of our key recommendations was to introduce a clear and universal entitlement to student loan support for all Scottish postgraduate students studying in Scotland, and the extension of support to full Masters’ level courses as opposed to Postgraduate Diploma level, so I am delighted to see such a significant increase in take-up already this year following the criteria change.”


Information on all aspects of student support provided by SAAS can be found at:

The SLC website provides more information on student loans for Higher Education:

Prior to the changes being made, students were able to access a combined loan of up to £7,900 for fees and living costs for a limited number of specific courses up to Postgraduate Diploma level.


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