Pressure from campaigns such as “St Andreans for Summer SAAS” has led to the Scottish Government announcing on the 11 June 2020 that they will bring forward £11.4m of discretionary funding to help students in difficulty.
This funding will be specifically for students facing hardship over the summer and comes in the form of hardship bursaries rather than loans available for all students. The “St Andreans for Summer SAAS” described the recent announcement as “obviously a huge win, but also very different from what we were pushing for.”
“St Andreans for Summer SAAS” is a campaign for Scottish student loans to be extended into summer. This specific campaign is run by Student Union President Jamie Rodney.
However his concern is echoed by many other campaigns and students across the country. In early May, National Union of Students (NUS) Scotland president Liam McCabe expressed fears that there is a “ticking time bomb” of student deprivation caused by part-time work drying up due to coronavirus.
The Facebook page dedicated to the summer SAAS cause also said on 16 June 2020 “it’s also clear that this (the new funding announcement) doesn’t go far enough. Many students are unaware of the discretionary fund, or have difficulty accessing it.”
In the same post the campaign outlined its future plans to address the current crisis in student deprivation “1) Work with the University, and with student groups, to make it easier to apply for the discretionary fund, and to remove the stigma, barriers and lack of information that prevent people from accessing it.”
It continued, “2) Gather information about where this hardship money has fallen short so we can make the case more effectively.”
“3) Work with other groups supporting the campaign such as NUS Scotland, BMA Scotland Students and The Doctors’ Association UK to continue to put pressure on the Government.”