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Initial response to postgraduate review group increases number of eligible courses.
An additional 190 postgraduate courses will be eligible for student support in the next academic year.
As part of an initial response to the report by the Taught Postgraduate Study Working Group, Scotland's 19 universities offering postgrad courses will each be able to make a further ten taught postgraduate diploma courses available for support.
A full response to the review group, chaired by Professor Bryan MacGregor, Vice Principal and Head of the College of Physical Sciences at the University of Aberdeen, will follow in due course.
Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning Angela Constance said:
"I have already welcomed the findings of the Taught Postgraduate Study Working Group. They offer up a number of options on how to reduce the barriers that exist for students interested in postgraduate study, some of which will require more detailed consideration.
"However, that should not prevent us from acting swiftly and decisively where we can. That is why I am very happy to be able to increase the number of diploma courses eligible for support in 2016-17, and therefore the number of students.
"It will be up to institutions to choose which courses they add to their list, but I believe this relatively simple measure will help ensure everyone interested in a postgraduate course is able to access one.
"We want our graduates to fulfil our potential and create a highly skilled workforce that will help grow the economy. Allowing more students to access courses at a high level will help us meet that ambition as well as making Scotland a more attractive postgraduate study option for those already domiciled here."
Alastair Sim, Director of Universities Scotland, said:
"We welcome this positive step towards making postgraduate level education more affordable, and therefore accessible, to students. We know that employers' value taught postgraduate courses because of the depth of specialist knowledge they pack into a short course. Universities will appreciate the freedom to choose which courses to make eligible for student support as they are well placed to judge student and employer demand.
"We have welcomed the close relationship we have had with Government on this issue and look forward to working together to take the report's other recommendations forward."
Vonnie Sandlan, President of NUS Scotland, said:
"This is a really positive and welcome step by the Scottish Government of increased access to postgraduate education, opening up a wider range of postgraduate degrees and ensuring that more students can reach their full academic potential.
"It's absolutely right that, given the progress we've seen in widening access to undergraduate education, we're now turning our attention to postgraduate study, creating a system where the necessary support exists to access to ever higher levels of education.
"We have welcomed the recommendations of the recent review of postgraduate education, and look forward to continuing to work with the Scottish Government and other partners to further build on the strong progress we've made so far."
The report by the Taught Postgraduate Study Working Group can be found here.