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Wednesday, 24 May, 2000, 15:48 GMT 16:48 UK
Cubie response: In detail
Cubie report
The Cubie report made more than 50 recommendations
BBC Scotland's education correspondent Kenneth Macdonald looks at how the Scottish Executive has responded to some of the 52 recommendations of the Cubie inquiry into student finance.


The Scottish Executive believe nearly half of Scotland's students will be better off under changes to student support.

They say student fees will go this autumn, next year 60% of undergraduates will get bursaries as well as loans - and no-one will be left worse off.

But student leaders are still calling for full implementation of the Cubie report - set up to resolve the dispute over fees between the coalition partners.

Andrew Cubie
Andrew Cubie chaired the committee
As we already know, tuition fees are to be abolished this autumn - a year earlier than Cubie recommended.

Among the new provisions announced on Wednesday, there will be an 8m two-year package of childcare targeted at student parents at further education colleges.

There will also be moves towards levelling the playing field on student support between higher and further education - and the first review of the student means test since 1962.

Ministers have also filled in much of the detail of how the new support system will work when it starts a year from now.

No extra for high earners

Younger students whose family income is less than 10,000 a year will get bursaries of 2,000 a year - that falls as family income rises.

There is no bursary money if family income is over 24,000 - but there will still be student loans.

Again, entitlement to that falls as family income rises, but the Scottish Executive has decided that no-one should get less than a 500 loan even if they're stinking rich and living at home.

Student
The executive believes students will be better off
Ministers say this means students from poorer backgrounds - and living further of home - will have more than 4,200 a year to live on.

Overall, they claim it will mean many young people will not be put off going to university - and they will graduate with less debt.

Ministers are also moving to level the playing field for students at further education colleges - at present they are not as well supported as university undergraduates.

But there are no moves to make FE students take out loans.

Lone parents exempt

Instead of paying tuition fees up front, there is a payment to be made - after completing your university degree - to the new Graduate Endowment Fund.

It is an index-linked 2,000. The more flush graduates can pay this on graduation - the rest will be offered the option of adding it to their student loan debt.

But mature students, disabled people and lone parents will be exempt.

Students
Most students will pay into an endowment
Other winners from these proposals include students already in higher education who will not have to pay fees - and they will not have to make endowment payments either.

NUS Scotland are still not happy.

It wants full implementation of Cubie - which envisaged a higher graduate endowment payment, but kicking in when income reached a higher level.

They say 10,000 a year is too low to start repaying.

That argument is echoed by the AUT, who want to see all Scottish students - including those studying elsewhere in the UK - eligible for the improved support levels.

But there is one aspect of Cubie not being implemented - the committee had called for benefits to be restored during summer holidays for students who genuinely cannot find work.

'Can't act'

But social security is a reserved power so Holyrood cannot act even if it wanted to.

But a cross-border working group has been set up to look at the idea.

For the rest, Holyrood's legislative process means extensive consultation must now start - even though Cubie carried out its own series of public meetings and hearings.

Appropriately there will be a web forum and other cyber-initiatives as well as the more traditional methods.

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See also:

25 Jan 00 | Scotland
Reid fields opposition fees' anger
24 Jan 00 | Scotland
Ministers to finalise fees deal
25 Jan 00 | Scotland
Students reject Cubie deal
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