Every young college and university student with care experience in Scotland will have access to a grant of up to £8,100, from new investment of over £5 million pounds in 2018.
The announcement was made on 9 June by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon as she gave her Leader’s address at the SNP’s spring conference in Aberdeen, and details of the changes to funding will be outlined by the Scottish Government Higher Education Minister Shirley-Anne Somerville before the Scottish Parliament’s summer recess this year.
The First Minster said:
“…we will increase the grant for every care experienced young person at university or at college to 8,100 pounds. For college students, that will almost double support. And, for everyone, it is equivalent to the real living wage.”
The move follows recommendations made in 2017’s Independent Review of Financial Support for Students in Scotland, which sets out a range of funding suggestions for students in Scotland.
The Review specifically highlighted care experienced students as young people who the Review identified as having had major difficulties in their lives, and highlighted the responsibility that the Scottish Government has as a corporate parent to “Estranged students” - those who have been permanently estranged from their parents and do not have parental support.
Responding to the news, CELCIS Executive Director Jennifer Davidson commented:
“Students with care experience can face a number of unique challenges compared to their peers. Challenges, in fact, that can be a barrier to choosing to pursue education at all. And so we heartily welcome this announcement of an increase in financial support. It is one of a number of important supports that can help make a real difference to many care experienced young people pursuing their ambitions.”
Graham Connelly shared his thoughts on the financial support care experienced students receive in this blog post from 2017.