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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-07416: Alexander Burnett (Aberdeenshire West)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 22 February 2017

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-05882 by Shirley-Anne Somerville on 19 January 2017, for what reason the SAAS loan bands are no longer based on a parental income sliding scale and what support it gives to families whose income is just above the threshold, resulting in them not being eligible for the higher loan rate to pay for more than one child at college or university.

Answered by: Shirley-Anne Somerville 8 March 2017

New household income brackets were introduced as part of the overall simplification of the higher education student support system in 2013-2014.

Simplification made it clear what every student is individually eligible to apply for, according to the income of the household in which they reside. When the new system was introduced, the minimum loan that all students, regardless of their household income, were eligible to claim, was increased from £910 to £4,500.

In addition to the support provided by SAAS through loans, every higher education institution has a discretionary fund that students experiencing financial difficulty can apply to for help with study related costs such as accommodation and travel. These funds are allocated by Scottish Ministers and administered by individual colleges and universities.

The Scottish Government wants to ensure that student funding is fair and equitable, which is why we have enabled an independent review of the further and higher education student support system. The review is chaired by Jayne-Anne Gadhia, CEO of Virgin Money and is scheduled to report to Ministers by autumn 2017.