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The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) has today confirmed the allocation of £730,250 from the Scottish Government to provide additional support for students’ associations and unions in colleges and universities for the current financial year.

The announcement comes in addition to the Student Mental Health and Wellbeing support which was confirmed on 18 December 2020. This new block of funding encourages institutions to work closely with their students’ associations in developing and providing mental health support for their students and to develop services with students where possible.

This funding announcement is conditional on college and university students’ associations liaising with NUS Scotland which will compile a report on the use of the funds for the Scottish Government and SFC. The report will cover affiliated and non-affiliated students’ associations and will detail the effectiveness of the investment and the impact it has created.

SFC’s funding announcement suggests the following possible uses for the funds:

  • The building of safe online student communities to encourage contact, support learning, facilitate connections and the feeling of being part of the wider student community.
  • Increasing membership engagement in order that students’ views can continue to be heard. Finding new ways to help members engage with each other and the institution is always important in order to maintain the vitality of the association.
  • The communication of public health and wellbeing messages to their members.
  • Building expertise and capacity of students’ associations by investing in staff. We recognise that even the best students’ associations are unlikely to deliver impact without a staff team to support them and without the right reporting structures in place.
  • Mental health and wellbeing support for students. These funds can supplement the additional institutional Funding for Student Mental Health.

James Dunphy, SFC’s Director for Access, Learning and Outcomes said:

“We recognise the excellent work that is taking place in students’ associations right now. The purpose of this funding is to support students’ associations to enhance the help they can offer students and to enable the expansion of this as we continue to collectively respond to meet student need.

“Students’ associations play a hugely important role in Scotland’s education and skills system. This funding recognises our commitment to students and student bodies, helping them identify their own needs, represent their interests and bring about the changes they want to see to enhance learning and improve mental health and wellbeing support.”