Postgraduate students in Scotland have been plunged into debt worry by the axing of a number of study grants by the Scottish Government in favour of a loan system, says Scottish Debt Solutions Company Scottishtrustdeed.co.uk.
For many years, students taking postgraduate courses in vocational subjects, such as educational psychology, have benefited from a number of study allowances that have not had to be paid back. Now the Scottish Government is looking to get rid of these allowances and announced a new loan scheme to benefit more students as part of its reforms of the post-16 educational arena.
Education Secretary Michael Russell, said: “As part of our work on post-16 education reform we have been looking at ways in which we can simplify and improve student support, including how we fund those studying for postgraduate qualifications. We have had a number of very positive discussions around future provision, and are now pleased to say that almost twice as many postgraduate students will be eligible for support from 2012/13.
“This means that many more of the very best students can access an additional stage of academia, based on ability to learn, not ability to pay.”
The new system claims that it will make funding more available to a wider range of students. Currently 2,700 students receive the non-repayable study allowance, compared to a potential 5000 that would be eligible to receive up to £3,400 in loans that could be put towards tuition fee costs. In addition, the Open University will receive 100 funded places to ensure none of its students would be disadvantaged.
However, two of academia’s biggest unions , the National Union of Students (NUS) and University and College Union (UCU), have their concerns about the plans to move from bursary support to loans.
“While the increase in the number of funded postgraduates is welcome, the move to loans is concerning,” said President of UCU Scotland Gordon Watson. “Students may well be put off adding to their debt, and bursary support should be considered especially as these students will also go on to PhD study and academic careers, putting off paying back these debts until later in life.”
President of NUS Scotland, Robin Parker, said: “There needs to be an ongoing and long-term commitment to investing in support for postgraduate students. We would have preferred these changes to have come alongside the wider changes planned to simplify the student support system for next year.”
“While moving from grants to loans isn’t always ideal, these changes will mean money for more students whilst they’re studying.”
A spokesperson for Scottishtrustdeed.co.uk is concerned about the impact the loan system will have on a population of young people already beset my debt and unemployment, but can also see the benefits. “Many students who have had the opportunity have chosen to improve their chances of getting better jobs by entering into postgraduate studies under the bursary system. This new loan system will put many into debt straight away and they will be in debt for many years while they finish their studies. This is not ideal in the current climate where a large proportion of Scotland’s young people are bearing the brunt of the nation’s unemployment and are heavily in debt already.
“However, those who decide to forge ahead under the loan system are likely to earn more money and have better careers than many who decide not to study. So in the short-term it will add to the debt burden that many young adults have, but in the long-term it could see their earning potential and careers take off and make the debt more affordable to pay back later,” said the spokesperson.
Do you have more debt than you can cope with? Need to find out about some of the options? For more information of Debt Arrangement Schemes, Scottish Trust Deeds or Sequestration call and speak to one of our advisers in confidence now on 0141 345 2904.
Trust Deed Example
Example Unsecured Debts
|2||Credit card 1||£6,812|
Your Monthly Repayments Would Be
a Scottish Trust Deed £748
(total contractual repayments)
a Scottish Trust Deed £295
(total contractual repayments)
* Subject to creditor acceptance
* Payment subject to individual circumstances
* Credit rating may be affected
* Fees apply, subject to individual's circumstances. For more information on our fees click here