STUDENT poverty in further education will be ranked alongside the highly politicised issue of tuition fees in universities, Andrew Cubie, chairman of the independent inquiry into student finance, pledged on Wednesday.
Mr Cubie was launching the public consultation on the thorniest issue facing the Scottish Executive at the Jordanhill campus of Strathclyde University.
He said: "We will be looking at the totality of student funding and not just narrowly at the issue of tuition fees for undergraduates in full-time higher education straight from school."
Iain Ovens, principal of Dundee College and a committee member, said: "FE has a key role to play, particularly in relation to families where there is no experience of post-school education."
Sarah Chisnall, policy officer for the Association of Scottish Colleges, said. "Lots of students are part-time because they have got families to look after."
Written evidence should be submitted by September 10, and opinions can be voiced at open meetings and on the Internet.