Scottish Government summer support "urgently needed" to tackle student poverty during cost of living crisis, says NUS

The National Union of Students (NUS) has called on the Scottish Government to “address the summer support gap” as students face “unprecedented hardship” with the rising cost of living.

The NUS Scotland President Matt Crilly has made the call today after a recent study from the union in Scotland found more than half of student are struggling with money.

A total of 54 per cent of students find coping financially over the summer months difficult, according to the NUS Scotland research carried out earlier this year.

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When asked what students find most difficult to afford over the summer months, essential bills and costs of living came out on top.

Matt Crilly, president of NUS Scotland.Matt Crilly, president of NUS Scotland.
Matt Crilly, president of NUS Scotland.

In June last year, the Scottish Government pledged to review summer support for students. However, the NUS has said it is “unlikely” the review will conclude this academic year.

Since last June, the Scottish Government have distributed more than £37 million in Discretionary Funds to colleges and universities to support students facing financial hardship throughout the year.

In February, education Minister Jamie Hepburn wrote to College and University Principals asking them to continue to prioritise the allocation of these hardship funds to those students most in need.

Yet discretionary funds remain underspent despite a “clear need”, the NUS has said.

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Mr Crilly said: “Many students across Scotland have now received their last student support of the year and face yet another long summer without any upfront financial support.

"Coupled with the rising cost of living, the poorest students will be hit hard unless the Scottish Government takes action.”

While £20 million of additional discretionary support was made available to students by the Scottish Government last summer, no new funds have been provided this year.

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Mr Crilly added: “During the Scottish Parliament elections, the First Minister pledged to look at the introduction of summer grants but progress on the government’s summer support review has been painfully slow.

“Our survey of over 3,500 students found that over half found coping financially during the summer difficult and 12 per cent had experienced homelessness since starting their studies – Scotland will continue to fail its students if we don’t address the summer support gap.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We continue to work closely with NUS and stakeholders on reviewing the support available to students over the summer.”



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