An MSP has welcomed the Scottish Government’s commitment of £20 million to help alleviate financial pressures during the summer experienced by students impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Natalie Don, MSP for Renfrewshire North and West has highlighted via a parliamentary question that some students are at a disadvantage to their peers, based on personal or family financial circumstances rather than learning ability, and cannot afford take up summer volunteering or training opportunities relevant to their courses.
Students, many of whom have already lost crucial part-time jobs in the service sector due to the pandemic, are also likely to face increased difficulties in securing seasonal employment because of the lower number of tourists visiting Scotland.
Natalie Don MSP said: “The pandemic has severely impacted many students in Renfrewshire North and West and it has magnified the financial burdens that some will face during the summer.
“Many students find themselves in debt over the summer months and not all have the capability to find work, stay in their accommodation or take up volunteering or training opportunities relevant to their degree as they simply cannot afford to do so.
“I am pleased that the Minister for Higher Education and Further Education has committed £20 million to help alleviate the financial pressures experienced by students in the summer and confirmed a review of this support will take place within the SNP Government’s first 100 days in office.
“As the SNP continue to prioritise improving the attainment gap in Scotland, providing this summer support to students is a vital positive step towards achieving this.
“I encourage students in Renfrewshire experiencing financial hardship to apply directly to their college or university’s Coronavirus Discretionary Fund to benefit from the summer support package.”
This latest funding takes total Scottish Government support for students since the start of the pandemic to more than £96 million via hardship funds, digital access, mental health support and assistance for student associations.