Scottish Government
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Funding for part-time students

Around 20,000 part-time students across Scotland will be able to apply for new support from today.

The support - provided in the form of a £500 grant - will be open to new and existing higher education students earning £18,000 a year or less and studying at 50 per cent or more of a full-time course.

Minister for Schools and Skills Maureen Watt encouraged all those eligible to apply. She said:

"This Government believes that education should be based on the ability to learn, not the ability to pay.

"Already this year, we have abolished the graduate endowment fee, are providing £16m a year to institutions to alleviate student hardship and have introduced a fairer means test in further and higher education to ensure that support is targeted where it is needed most.

"We also intend to launch a consultation paper later in the year, seeking views on our proposals to replace the current system of student loans with a fair and affordable system of means-tested grants.

"The enhanced support for part-time students - available from today - marks the first step in the move from loans to grants and highlights our determination to ease the financial pressures on learners young and old.

"This will significantly help part-time students, particularly those on low incomes, build up their education and skills and contribute towards our efforts to create a smarter, more confident Scotland."

Dr Anne McGillivray, Dean of Lifelong Learning at the University of the West of Scotland, said:

"This is a great opportunity for all current part-time learners in Scotland and the initiative is to be welcomed. It should also attract new learners into flexible part-time pathways.

"There can be many barriers preventing students from taking up part-time study. This financial boost should encourage more to enter education and work towards achieving necessary skills for their career and personal development."

Education Secretary Fiona Hyslop announced the Scottish Government's intention to introduce the £500 part-time grant for the academic year 2008-09, on December 7 last year.

This is a new grant with £12 million, £13 million and £13 million allocated over the period of the spending review.

It will be delivered through ILA Scotland. Application packs can be obtained through the ILA Scotland helpline on 0808 100 1090.

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