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Increased funding essential to allow Scottish universities to compete

13 June 2007

UCU Scotland is calling for a commitment from the new SNP administration to real terms increases in higher education funding and to build a consensus about student funding after the announcement today of the abolition of the graduate endowment.

The graduate endowment is used to fund bursaries for students who would be put off by the debt incurred by the costs of student support. The present system was devised after the independent Cubie Committee studied student finance and, after widespread public consultation, built a consensus in Scotland. UCU has sent a submission on the spending review to the cabinet secretary calling for increased funding for our universities to meet the challenge of top-fees in England.

Terry Brotherstone, president of UCU Scotland, said: 'We welcome the reduction of student debt announced today by the Scottish government, but are concerned that the Cubie settlement is starting to unravel. Both the parliamentary arithmetic and the importance of achieving a broad consensus around any major review of the Cubie reforms mean that there should now be consultation about the next steps in the SNP manifesto, including the possibility of a further independent review, not just parliamentary horse-trading. The cost of further reform of student funding dictates that this must also be considered alongside the pressing need for additional funds to ensure the long term future of Scottish universities.

'Bursaries are crucial to broadening access to higher education and must not be lost in the rush to reduce student debt. We need more and bigger bursaries to further reduce debt and to encourage the most able, not just the wealthiest, students to apply to our universities.

'The new executive needs to invest in higher education if it is to build a new dynamic and prosperous Scotland. In particular, it needs to fund and promote real action by institutions to deliver a system based on retaining and developing their staff.'

Last updated: 14 December 2015