Earlier financial help for those facing hardship.
Students facing hardship this summer due to COVID-19 can now receive financial support within a package of new measures.
The Scottish Government has brought forward early access to £11.4 million of discretionary funds - support for higher education students in financial difficulty – to be administered by colleges and universities.
Unlike continuing higher education students, most former further education students can receive benefits if they are unemployed. Colleges will now have flexibility to offer discretionary funds to bridge the timing gap between bursary payments ending in June and Universal Credit payments starting.
Scottish students studying in Europe as part of EU Portability or historically arranged schemes will be able to access a £100,000 emergency fund administered by the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS).
SAAS has also suspended all new debt recovery actions in respect to grants and bursaries until September for students whose circumstances have changed and may have to return overpayments. Students are encouraged to contact SAAS to discuss what help is available.
Minister for Further, Higher Education and Science Richard Lochhead said:
“Given the economic impact of COVID-19, many continuing students who rely on seasonal and part-time jobs in the summer could find it difficult to cover their basic housing or cost of living costs.
“No student should face financial hardship as a result - so these new measures will support students until the start of the next academic year when bursary, grant and loan payments will begin again.
“We are now bringing forward £11.4 million in support for higher education students in financial difficulty that was not due to be available until the new academic year. This builds on our £5 million support plan for FE and HE students announced in April.
“The UK Government package announced on 4 May for higher education providers and students was disappointing, and fell short of recognising the full scale of the challenge.”
In early April, the Scottish Government announced an emergency package of support for students facing hardship, applying dedicated COVID-19 Discretionary Funds. An additional £2.2 million was provided for HE students at college and university, on top of a supplementary redistributed £569,000 Discretionary Fund. The Scottish Funding Council also brought forward £2 million to support FE students at college. Additional measures provided early access to the HE Care-experienced Accommodation Grant, support for HE students studying at Private Providers, and a suspension of any new debt recovery by the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS).
Latest information and advice for students on COVID-19, including support for employment, is available at www.studentinformation.gov.scot.
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