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New funding package to benefit the poorest and part-timers

Scottish students will be able to benefit from the best funding package in the UK from next year, education secretary Michael Russell claimed this week when he announced a new scheme to benefit the poorest students and part-timers.

The changes, to come into effect in 2013, will see:

- students with a family income of less than pound;17,000 receive an annual minimum income of pound;7,250 through bursaries and loans;

- all students, irrespective of their income, eligible for a student loan of pound;4,500, under the new rules;

- part-time students with a personal income of less than pound;25,000 have tuition fees abolished, bringing them into line with full-time students.

Mr Russell said he expected the minimum income of pound;7,250 to benefit around 45,000 students from the lowest income households each year. "Improved support for part-time students would ensure "that all those with potential can go to university and achieve their goals, in turn playing a key role in improving our economy in years to come".

Robin Parker, NUS Scotland president, said that Scotland would from next year have "the best support package in the whole of the UK available to college and university students studying at higher education level".

He added: "We need to provide enough support to students in order to get the most out of our talented people."

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