Figures published today (28th October) have shown the total amount of support provided in bursaries and grants to students reduced by over a third in the past year.
£64.9million of bursaries and grants were paid in 2013/14 compared with £100.6million in 2012/13.
The average loan per student increased from £3110 in 2012/13 to £5020 in 2013/14 (61.4% increase).
Previous figures on further education in Scotland have shown a drop of 108,531 college students in the past three years along with 6,925 staff members.
Commenting on the figures, Dumfriesshire MSP Elaine Murray said:
“Non-repayable bursaries are being slashed by this SNP government. Students who may need that extra bit of support are being ignored and instead are expected to leave further and higher education with thousands of pounds worth of debt.
“There are over 10,000 students in Dumfries & Galloway, many of whom will have found their bursaries cut by over a third in the past year. We need to give students with families from a less well-off background the best start in life and future employment as possible. That isn’t achieved by cutting bursaries and increasing debt.
“These cuts to bursaries are on top of the SNP’s and Mike Russell’s decimation of college funding.
“With nearly 110,000 less students and nearly 7,000 less staff in colleges across Scotland, bursaries being cut and student debt on the increase it is clear that the SNP cannot be trusted with Scottish education.”