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Student funding changes make courses more affordable and widen choice.
Postgraduate student support will increase next academic year, Higher Education Minister Shirley-Anne Somerville has confirmed.
Eligible students can currently 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.
From 2017-18, up to £10,000 will be available for any taught postgraduate course up to full Masters level at any Scottish higher education institute (HEI).
The Minister said:
“Postgraduate study can open doors to new careers and higher earnings – which has benefits for individuals and the wider economy.
“From next academic year, we are making postgraduate study more affordable for students domiciled in Scotland by increasing the maximum level of available support to £10,000 and greatly widening the range of eligible courses.
“The Taught Postgraduate Review, led by Professor Bryan MacGregor of Aberdeen University, recommended introducing a universal student loan entitlement of £9,000 for postgraduate level study. The changes I have announced today go above and beyond this.”
Vonnie Sandlan, President, NUS Scotland said:
“It’s really welcome to see the Scottish Government accept these important recommendations from the Taught Postgraduate Review – a review that NUS Scotland was proud to play in a part in seeing formed and working with. The introduction of increased fee and living cost support will go a long way to opening up postgraduate education to more students who will be able to access that study without having to struggle to find thousands of pounds in upfront fees.
“Given everything we’ve achieved on making access to undergraduate education fairer, it’s only right that we’re now turning our attention to making access to postgraduate study fairer. Expecting students to pay upfront tuition fees on top of living costs runs counter to our aspirations to improve access to higher education, at all levels. Providing financial support to cover these costs is a vital step in making postgraduate study fairer.”
Alastair Sim, Director of Universities Scotland said:
“It’s important for Scotland’s growth as an innovative and productive economy that we enable more people to develop high-level postgraduate skills. The measures set out today will enable people to access greatly improved support to pursue these opportunities. As a member of the working group that made recommendations to Scottish Government for improved postgraduate support, it’s very satisfying to see this taken forward.
“Now this change has been made, it will be important to put energy into the drive to make Scots aware of the new support system and the opportunities that this creates, both for graduates and for many people in the workforce who want to up skill or reskill to support career progression.”
From 2017-18, eligible Scottish domiciles will be able access a loan up to £10,000 – comprising £5,500 for fees and £4,500 for living costs – for any taught postgraduate course at any Scottish HEI up to full Masters level. Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) will continue to support students studying elsewhere in the UK, for courses not available in Scotland.
Under the old system, eligible Scottish domiciles can access a loan of up to £7,900 - comprising £3,400 for fees and £4,500 for living costs - for taught postgraduate courses on a prescribed up to Postgraduate Diploma level at any Scottish HEI. The list is available at: http://www.saas.gov.uk/full_time/pg/eligibility.htm
Full time EU students will continue to be eligible to apply for the tuition fee loan for the academic year 2017-18. This funding will also be available to EU students undertaking postgraduate study in Scotland on a part time basis over two years.
Normal application cycle arrangements will apply for 2017-18. Students will be eligible to apply to Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) for funding around the middle of April 2017 – this will be for courses commencing between 1 August 2017 and 31 July 2018. This is the same as previous academic years and universities will be familiar with those arrangements.
Students pay back postgraduate loans in the same way and on the same terms as undergraduate loans. For students with postgraduate and undergraduate loans, both sums are added together and are subject to the same interest rate.
The MacGregor Review of barriers to taught postgraduate study for Scottish domiciled students recommended implementing a clear and universal entitlement for £9,000 student loan support for postgraduate level study. See: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Education/UniversitiesColleges/16640/stakeholdergroups/PostgraduateReview