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The Scottish Government has today (8 April 2020) announced a £5 million package of emergency financial support to help students facing hardship as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

As part of this package the Scottish Funding Council has brought forward £2m of advance funding to help students on Further Education courses at Scotland’s colleges. In addition, SFC has asked colleges to redirect any unallocated travel or childcare costs to discretionary funds which can be used to address COVID-19 related hardships.

The SFC funding supplements an additional £2.2m for Scotland’s Higher Education (HE) Discretionary Fund as well as advance funding of £800,000 from the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS).

This package of funding will be available to colleges and universities immediately.

Other details of the emergency package include:

  • £100,000 available to support around 1,000 students studying with private providers, administered by SAAS and paid directly to affected students.
  • A suspension in all ‘new’ student debt recovery actions for three months, which will benefit around 600 individuals; any students with existing debts experiencing problems as a result of the crisis, are encouraged to get in contact with SAAS to discuss what help could be available.
  • an extension of the Care-Experienced Accommodation Grant, allowing eligible students to access support of a non-repayable grant of up to £105 per week, from early April – eight weeks earlier than usual – benefiting around 200 students worth an estimated £200,000.

Further and Higher Education Minister Richard Lochhead said:

“We are ensuring all students studying in Scotland should have access to emergency support should they be facing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19, or the social distancing and isolation measures that have been introduced.

“All bursaries, grants and loans are continuing to be paid as planned – but the current unprecedented situation has resulted in increased hardship. That is why we are making extra funding immediately available for students most in need, to help alleviate concerns around accommodation costs, mental health issues, general living costs and wellbeing.

“Institutions will be provided with specific guidance on the discretionary funding related to COVID-19, to explain all relevant details while students can access the latest information on COVID-19 on the Student Information Scotland website.”

Students in Further and Higher education can access the latest information on COVID-19 on the Student Information Scotland (SIS) website