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Reverse the Decision to Slash Bursary for the Poorest Students

This petition had 109 supporters

In 2011 the SNP pledged to improve student support. The SNP Government now plan to cut bursaries for the poorest students.

The Young Students' Bursary is an essential part of the Scottish HE funding system. It helps to ensure social mobility as students from less wealthy backgrounds will be less likely to be discouraged from going to college or university for financial reasons.

In order to fund an increase in the non income assessed student loan, which is available to students from the most wealthy backgrounds, the SNP are planning to cut the Young Students' Bursary for the 2013/14 academic year.

In 2012/13, the maximum bursary available is £2,640; in 2013/14 this will be reduced to just £1,750.

The definition of a low income household will also be made more strict: in 2012/13, to be eligible for the maximum bursary, a student's household income must be below £19,310, but in 2013/14, household income must be below £16,999. Some students from households that would previously have been eligible for £2,640 in bursary will now only be receiving £1,000.

Students from poor backgrounds will need to apply for additional student loan to make up the shortfall. However Scottish students are not eligible for the new higher repayment threshold available in England and Wales, and will have to pay back this loan when earning over £15,000. It is clear that the prospect of debt is going to discourage potential students from low income backgrounds.

The Independent Students' Bursary for over 25s is also facing similar cuts.

The increase in the amount of non income assessed student loan available will see less students withdrawing from their studies. However, cutting bursaries in order to increase the amount of loan available to the wealthiest students is not fair and it is not progressive, and will put some young people off from applying in the first place. We need a funding system which ensures that all Scots can succeed no matter their background.

We the undersigned call on the Scottish Government to reverse the planned cuts to Young Students' Bursary.

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