Student Debt in Scotland Rising Faster Than Anywhere Else in the UK

June 20, 2016

Debt levels among students are rising at a faster pace in Scotland than in any other part of the UK, according to official new figures.

The total amounts being owed by Scottish students remains lower than in other parts of the country but there are concerns that the growing financial burden associated with studying in Scotland is making life more difficult for thousands of young Scots.

Figures from the Student Loans Company show that the average amount of debt accumulated by Scottish graduates in the year 2014/15 was £10,500, with that figure representing a rise of 12 per cent as compared with the previous year.

Elsewhere in the UK, average debt levels among graduates were recorded at £24,640 in England, £19,720 in Northern Ireland and £16,120 in Wales, the Herald reports.

Representatives of the National Union of Students (NUS) Scotland have called on the Scottish government to look into how it helps the country’s poorest students cope with the financial pressures involved in attending university.

The organisation has raised concerns that extra financial pressures on Scottish students might lead more and more of them to drop out of university or to take on commercial debts.

“Despite all the progress made during the last parliament on improving our record on widening access to higher education, there’s still much more to do, and that must include addressing the financial support available to students,” said Vonnie Sandlan from NUS Scotland.

Mary Senior from the University and College Union in Scotland called on the Scottish government to “urgently review current student support provision”.

“Alongside proposals to widen access, we need to ensure the often mentioned term free education actually means what it says and that students can access and stay at university without graduating overburdened with debt,” she said.

The average level of student debt among university graduates in Scotland is understood to have risen by around 75 per cent over the course of the past five years, which is a much sharper rate of increase than that recorded anywhere else in the UK.

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