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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-03284: Liz Smith (Mid Scotland and Fife)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 29 September 2016

To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to widen access to postgraduate study for people from deprived backgrounds.

Answered by: Shirley-Anne Somerville 27 October 2016

Under current postgraduate support arrangements, all eligible postgraduate students are able to access a total student loan support package of £7900, comprising a tuition fee loan of £3400 and a living cost loan of £4500 if studying from a wide ranging course list. In the current academic year all universities were invited to add a further ten taught postgraduate diploma courses to the list currently eligible for support.

And, as the Programme for Government made clear, the Scottish Government will be announcing further changes to the support package available to all eligible students in academic year 2017-18.

Although the Commission on Widening Access’s primary focus was undergraduate level study, it recommended that the Commissioner for Fair Access consider what further work is required to support equal outcomes after (undergraduate) study for those from disadvantaged backgrounds or with a care experience. This is a matter that the Commissioner can examine with regard to postgraduate study.