Supporting Further and Higher Education and skills

Minister sets out next steps in reform of post-school funding arrangements.

Arrangements to deliver funding support for learners beyond school is to be simplified as part of ongoing reforms to the education and skills sector.

Announcing the commitment in an update to Parliament, Minister for Higher Education and Further Education Graeme Dey also set out the intention to streamline funding for colleges, universities and apprenticeships.

Currently, funding across the sector is provided by multiple organisations, including the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) and Skills Development Scotland (SDS).

The Minister confirmed that the Scottish Government will take over skills planning at a national level. There will also be a review into Community Learning Development (CLD).

Mr Dey said:

“Scotland’s colleges, universities and apprenticeships are vital parts of our national infrastructure and it is important that every pound invested delivers the greatest impact. To do that, we must reduce complexities to make sure more of our investment directly supports learners.

"While I recognise the important role played by all of the bodies involved in funding, as an initial step I am committed to bringing together learner support funding into one place, and funding for apprenticeship provision into one place. I will work closely with SFC, SAAS and SDS to make this happen.  

“Our review of CLD will identify strengths and highlight areas for improvement so that, as we progress reforms, we can ensure that everyone benefits. It is critically important for us to be able to identify strengths in our current approach to CLD and to highlight where improvements may be necessary.”


The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) has responsibility for delivering investment in university research and knowledge exchange, as well as provision of fundable further and higher education, including Foundation and Graduate. SFC also provides discretionary funding to colleges for students facing hardship.

The Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) provides students with funding for higher education, as well as tuition fee payments to both colleges and universities. This includes Graduate Apprenticeships and financial support for living costs paid directly to students in the form of loans, grants and bursaries.

Skills Development Scotland delivers national training programmes, including the frameworks for all apprenticeship programmes, the contracting and payment of  the public contribution for Modern Apprenticeships (MA) and half of all Foundation Apprenticeship provision as well as paying support costs to training providers.

The independent review of Community Learning & Development (CLD) in Scotland will run from December until June 2024. It will examine the extent to which CLD is delivering positive outcomes for some of Scotland’s most vulnerable learners and marginalised groups.

The Scottish Government published its Purpose and Principles for post-school education and skills  in June, following the independent review of the Independent review of the Skills Delivery landscape  by James Withers earlier that month.  


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