Education plays a vital and critical role in shaping the future of our society and the economy. Public funding of education is an investment in society, providing both individual and wider social benefits.
Our Colleges and Universities across Scotland play a valuable role in delivering the skills, competencies and learning that fuels productivity. They enable students to learn, to train and contribute to the success of economic development and regeneration in Scotland.
During the course of this Review it quickly became apparent that students face issues with the complexity, accessibility and availability of funding. This was demonstrated through our survey - completed by over 3,500 students - and the consistent feedback we hear in focus groups throughout Scotland.
Over many years the system that has developed has become too complex, with different application across colleges and universities. It has become clear that much can be done to help students by bringing clarity and consistency to help them to access and to understand the financial support that is available to them.
With an awareness of constraints on public finances, this review aims to suggest real and meaningful improvement of Scotland's student support system, particularly for young people and students of all ages from lower income households or experiencing disadvantage for other reasons. Work to understand what the evidence is telling us will continue into the second half of the review. However, our findings so far support:
- greater alignment of financial support for students across colleges and universities, with increased fairness in what all students can access;
- a simplification and clarification of all of the systems used to provide financial support to students in Scotland today;
- better and clearer communication of the funding available, including a clear explanation of the repayment terms of student loans; and
- further consideration of the levels of funding required for all students and the funding mix.
Change in these broad areas has the potential to make a fundamental difference to the way in which students across Scotland access, receive, manage and understand the funding they receive.
As part of our continuing work, we want to consult with a wider audience by asking you some exploratory questions and giving you an opportunity to share other ideas / innovations to inform our final report. The final report will be supported by robust data, analysis and feedback from all stakeholders and published in Autumn 2017.
Email: Jennifer Finn, StudentSupportReview@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit
The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House