Scotland’s leading care-experience organisations have written to the Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, calling on the Care Experienced Students Bursary to be increased so that it is paid year-round – a change that would benefit over 2,500 students in Scotland.

The Care Experienced Bursary is a non-repayable grant made to care-experienced students regardless of age in full-time further and higher education to incentivise and support them to continue their education. As with other forms of student support it is paid during term-time.

The letter welcomes the package of support recently announced for students who face hardship this summer as a result of the pandemic. Many students have been unable to rely on summer jobs as a result of COVID-19 but for care-experienced students financial precarity is a reality that will exist beyond the current crisis, requiring a longer term solution.

The letter has been signed by the Jo Derrick CEO of Staf, Scotland’s care leaver charity, Claire Burns, Director of CELCIS (Acting), Lorraine Moore, Manager of The Hub for Success and Duncan Dunlop, CEO of Who Cares? Scotland.

Commenting on the letter Staf CEO Jo Derrick said:

“We are calling on the Scottish Government to increase the Care Experienced Bursary so that it is paid throughout the year, to ensure no care-experienced student faces holiday hardship.

“While we very much welcome the package of support for students made available this summer, we believe that a longer term solution is required to provide financial stability to over 2,500 care-experienced students.

“Care-experienced young people are less likely to have the family support network of their peers or have a ‘bank of mum and dad’ to rely on – this does not end when the holiday break starts.

“We look forward to working positively with the Scottish Government and other Corporate Parents to deliver a long-term solution to this issue and ensure we live up to our collective ambition to be a good parent.”

Listen to an audio clip of Jo explaining our call here:

Download audio clip

Further information: 

  • Read the letter in full here
  • In 2018-19 2,510 young people received the Care Experienced Bursary, including 1,670 in further education (figures sourced from the Scottish Funding Council) and 840 undergraduate students (figures sourced from SAAS). It is likely this number will rise in the coming academic year as the upper age cap (previously 26) has been removed.
  • A year round bursary was recommended by the Independent Care Review in The Promise: "Scotland must remove all barriers for young people who have had parenting responsibility to continuing their education. They must be supported to enter education at any age. They must be entitled to repeat year funding (if they are required to repeat a year), and year round funding to include the holiday period." p93, The Promise
  • Find out more about the issues faced by care-experienced students in CELCIS’s Beyond the Headlines briefing and their research on students' experiences.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska (Canva stock image)