Figures published today by the Scottish Funding Council show the extent of unmet demand for student bursaries. Colleges asked for £14.7m to meet demand from students but will receive only £3.5m. Five colleges which requested support will receive no funding.
Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP said:
“The SNP’s raid on college budgets is having a direct impact on young people's pockets. Students need this bursary funding to help them manage the cost of living whilst studying.
“Dundee and Angus college requested £800,000 for bursaries yet only received £160,000 in return. This situation is magnified in Fife where the college now faces over £1m of unmet demand for bursaries thanks to the Scottish Government’s raid. What will happen to these students if they cannot get the support they need for basic living costs?
"Many won't understand why the SNP are slashing this budget at a time when we need to do everything we can to boost jobs and growth. In some areas we know that more young people go on to college instead of university. These cuts will strike a damaging blow to the people who need help the most and blows a further hole in the SNP’s claims to be committed to widening access.
“Scottish Liberal Democrats know that we can only build a fairer society through creating opportunities for all. This is the real test for new Education Secretary Angela Constance to prove if she will adopt a different, more constructive approach than her predecessor and finally deliver for college students.”