Friday, 30 March 2012

Maintenance funding and access to higher education in Scotland.

The Herald this morning reports that the intake of poor pupils to university in Scotland is the lowest in the UK , and we still have the highest drop out rates. I've written the letter below in order to offer a potential explanation:

"It comes as no surprise to me that Scotland continues to hold the "UK's worst" status in attracting poor pupils into higher education and keeping them there. A simple examination of the financial support available to Scottish students relative to English ones reveals Scots to be at a striking disadvantage. A Scottish student from a household with a £26000 annual income will receive £5333 in loans and grants in 2012/13. An English student with the same household income will receive £7035, a whole 32% more than their Scottish contemporaries. It appears the furore over the rise in tuition fees south of the border has blinded Scots to the fact that our students are being asked to scrabble around for the necessary up-front fees for their food and lodgings, while English students study in relative comfort. It's high time Scottish politicians considered the funding of higher education with the needs of students and our economy at the forefront of their thoughts. With both eyes fixed on the morning's headlines, their paralysis on this issue risks seriously constraining social mobility in Scotland.

The sources for this information are here:

It's worth investigating. As the incomes rise the disparities get even larger."

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