Monday, 6 September 2010

Students facing poverty is bad for Scotland

The NUS today released results of a survey they ran on student hardship looking at the experiences of both university and college students. The survey found that 62% of the 7,400 students surveyed said that lack of money was damaging their studies and more than a third said that they had considered dropping out due to financial worries.

The Scottish Government’s comments on the BBC website suggest that while they are generally sympathetic to students there is unlikely to be any money to reduce the poverty levels that students face.

This means that university students in Scotland will continue to receive the lowest levels of financial support of any students in the UK. And worse, with the budget cuts taking hold in both the university and college sector we are already beginning to see evidence that funding for bursaries and childcare allowances, that often allow the poorest students to learn, are now under threat.

This of course is terrible for the individuals involved who are placed under enormous pressure trying to pay rent and bills while keeping up their studies, but it is also likely to do long term damage to the Scottish economy. We need a supply of skilled workers and it is in all our interests to ensure that we educate our young people to the highest level possible.

We cannot sustain a situation where we are losing talented students from courses due to the hardship they face while studying.

Helen Martin- STUC

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