SCOTLAND’S education secretary has announced a review into student payments to help with living expenses after delays in dealing with thousands of applications despite being half way through the university term.
• Review has been commission by the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) after ‘chaos’ over student finance applications
• 6000 students were left waiting for loans and bursaries, with SAAS still dealing with the backlog
• The independent review will be led by deputy chief executive of the Student Loans Company David Wallace
Michael Russell announced the review, commissioned by the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) after it was claimed the support system was in “chaos” with about 6,000 students left waiting for loans and bursaries.
Mr Russell said the review will ensure potential improvements are identified, while SAAS continue to deal with the remaining late applications and reprocessing those with changes in circumstance or new information.
David Wallace, deputy chief executive of the Student Loans Company, will lead the review of the processes for dealing with late and complex student funding applications.
Mr Russell said: “I understand the concerns raised by students about the time taken to process late and complex funding applications. This is a critical issue for those concerned and I am therefore pleased that David Wallace will lead an independent review. I believe his experience and expertise from the Student Loans Company mean he is ideally placed for this task.
“Progress has been made over the last week, while changes to student support for next year will simplify the process for many. However, it is important that any further improvements are identified, especially for the late and complex applications which offer particular challenges.”
Student leaders had called for an inquiry into the delays, while the convener of the Scottish Parliament’s education committee, SNP MSP Stewart Maxwell, asked the education secretary for an “urgent” update.