Student debt

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I am writing to make a short observation on your piece, “Student debt puts families £8,200 in the red (25 November).

The report on which the piece was based was produced by PricewaterhouseCoopers and appears largely based on data from outwith Scotland. At no point did it mention the impact of the different higher education fee regimes, which would have been enormously helpful.

The Scottish Government is committed to the principle of free education and pays the fees of Scots-domiciled students who choose to attend university here, meaning that levels of debt are much lower than in the rest of the UK. For example, figures published by the Student Loan Company year show that average student loan debt for Scottish students is £6,850 compared with £18,740 in England and £14,910 in Wales.

I would be grateful if any ­future stories could reflect such geographical context and the differing the policies of the Scottish and Westminster governments to avoid giving our prospective students and their families the wrong impression.

Michael Russell MSP

Cabinet secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning