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Students facing hardship this summer due to Covid-19 can now receive financial support, within a package of new measures.

The First Minister announced today that the Scottish Government has brought forward early access to £11.4 million of discretionary funds – higher education students should apply to their colleges or universities for access to this financial support.

Unlike continuing higher education students, most former further education students can receive benefits if they are unemployed. The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) will also give colleges flexibility to offer FE discretionary funds to bridge the timing gap between bursary payments ending in June and Universal Credit payments starting.

The Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) has suspended until September all new debt recovery actions in respect to grants and bursaries, for students whose circumstances have changed and therefore may have to return overpayments. Students are encouraged to contact SAAS to discuss what help is available.

In addition, Scottish students studying in Europe as part of EU Portability or historically arranged schemes will be able to access a £100,000 emergency fund administered by SAAS.

Minister for Further, Higher Education and Science Richard Lochhead said:

“Given the economic impact of Covid-19, many continuing students who rely on seasonal and part-time jobs in summer could find it difficult to cover their basic housing or cost of living costs. No student should face financial hardship as a result, so these new measures will support students until the start of the next academic year when bursary, grant and loan payments will begin again.

“This package builds on our £5 million support plan for FE and HE students announced in April. The UK Government package announced on 4th May for Higher Education Providers and Students was disappointing and fell short of recognising the full scale of the challenge.”