Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Tavish Scott MSP today said the SNP have taken three steps back when it comes to supporting students after new statistics showed that bursary support for students in Scotland is nowhere near levels seen in 2007.
The Students Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) figures show that since the SNP entered government, on a commitment to "dump the debt", the value of student loans issued annually has increased 175% while the sum of bursaries and grants has fallen by a third.
Commenting Mr Scott said:
“Students across Scotland face the question of how they will support themselves whilst getting an education. Today’s figures are troubling, particularly for students from lower-income backgrounds.
“The SNP were elected on a commitment to replace loans with grants and to "dump the debt". These statistics confirm the very opposite has happened. Student debt has soared on the SNP's watch and bursaries and grants have been decimated. Fewer students are getting them and they are receiving much less.
“Today’s statistics show a government taking three steps back. The Scottish Liberal Democrat policy of a transformative penny for education would repair the damage they have done to bursaries and grants through £30 million of new bursaries and support for students in higher and further education.”