Mike Rumbles Liberal Democrat MSP for the North East announced today that thousands of students from four North East Universities are struggling to make ends meet, having sought financial support.
Mike Rumbles can reveal these figures after a Freedom of Information request to the University of Aberdeen, University of Abertay Dundee, University of Dundee and Robert Gordon university. The University of Aberdeen topped this list at 7027 seeking financial support.
The North East follows a national trend. The Student Awards Agency for Scotland figures show that where the value of student loans issued annually has increased 175%, the sum of bursaries and grants has fallen by a third.
Mr Rumbles said: “These figures are in stark contrast to the promises made by the SNP. The SNP in 2007 ran on a platform of “dumping student debt” and replacing student loans with student grants. Instead debt has ballooned.
“Students are our future and we should be investing in them. It is not right that at an important time in their lives we leave them struggling to make ends meet.
“The SNP Government must now change tack and start supporting our students in the North East. Cut backs in education must be reversed and this should be a priority for the SNP government.
Notes to Editors
- The Scottish Liberal Democrats in coalition with Labour abolished university tuition fees for full time students in 2000.
- The Scottish Liberal Democrat FOI asked for the number of students who have asked for discretional financial assistance in the last five academic years.
The figures were as follows:
- The SAAS statistics can be found at https://news.gov.scot/news/higher-education-student-support-for-scotland-2016-17.
- The SNP policy before the 2007 election and subsequently dropped said: “It’s time to dump the debt monster…SNP will replace student loans with student grants. The support that government gives to students should not be repayable in the same way as a credit card debt or bank loan. It should be part of society’s investment in our collective future.” This policy was dropped within six months of gaining power.