Increase to student bursaries and loan repayment threshold.
Over £21 million is to be invested in improving the financial support available to students at university and college, the First Minister has announced.
As part of a package of measures:
- the bursary for care-experienced students in further and higher education will be increased this year to £8,100, bringing the support available in line with the Scottish living wage at a cost of around £5.5 million
- £16 million will be invested next year in increasing college bursaries and university grants for students from the lowest income families and expand access to them, and
- the repayment threshold for student loans will be raised to £25,000 from April 2021, and this year the maximum repayment period for student loans will be lowered from 35 to 30 years.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:
“We are determined to widen access to university. To help do that, the Student Support Review we set up recommended an increase in support of £16 million in the first instance.
“I can announce today that we will go further. By the end of this parliament, we will increase funding for student support by more than £20 million a year.
“As a first step in meeting the ambitions of the review, we will spend £16 million to increase and expand access to college bursaries and university grants for students from the lowest income families.
“And, with further investment of more than £5 million, we will increase the grant for every care experienced young person at college or university to £8,100 - that’s equivalent to the real living wage.
“Finally, we will also increase the amount graduates can earn before they start paying back student loans. Our commitment had been to raise the threshold to £22,000. I can confirm today we will go further and increase it to £25,000 instead.
“This package reaffirms our commitment that access to university should be based on the ability to learn not the ability to pay.”
The Care Experienced FE bursary will rise from £4,185 to £8,100 and the Care Experienced HE bursary will rise from £7,625 to £8,100. Both will take effect in this financial year, 2018/19.
Bursaries for further and higher education students will be increased from 2019/20.
The repayment threshold for student loans will be raised to £25,000 from April 2021.
The Programme for Government 2017-18 had previously committed to raising the repayment threshold for student loans to £22,000 by the end of the Parliament.
The Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, Shirley-Anne Somerville, will set out more detail of the Government’s response to the independent review of student support in the coming days.
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