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Inverness and Nairn politicians welcome £5m coronavirus support package for Highland students

By Andrew Dixon

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Drew Hendry and Fergus Ewing.
Drew Hendry and Fergus Ewing.

A £5 million package of emergency financial support is being put in place to help Scottish students facing hardship as a result of the coronavirus.

The fund includes an additional £2.2 million for Scotland’s Higher Education (HE) Discretionary Fund specifically to address coronavirus-related hardships, which will be available immediately. University and college students will be able to apply for any emergency discretionary payments directly to their own institutions.

Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey MP Drew Hendry said: “At this time, it is vital that hard-working students in the Highlands get all they help they need, whether financial, academic or personal.

"We want to ensure that all students are able to continue on their academic journey as best they can and maintain some normality in their lives despite the difficult times, we find ourselves in.

“To do this, the Scottish Government is ensuring students studying in Scotland will have the option to access emergency support should they face financial issues as a result of Covid-19, or the social distancing and isolation measures connected with it.

“Student bursaries, grants and loans are continuing to be paid as planned, however the current unprecedented situation has resulted in increased hardship.”

Inverness and Nairn MSP Fergus Ewing said: “Drew and I know that many students will have returned home to the Highlands as result of Covid-19 and enforced social distancing measures.

“Along with the upheaval to their normal living situations, many students are having concerns around their student accommodation costs, physical and mental health issues and the general costs of living. I am pleased to see that in addition to all bursaries, grants and loans continuing, the Scottish Government will be increasing the Hardship Fund in recognition of the difficult times people are facing.

“Institutions will be provided with specific guidance on the discretionary funding related to Covid-19, to explain all relevant details while students can access the latest information on Covid-19 on the Student Information Scotland website.”

Related article: University of the Highlands and Islands releases students in Inverness, Dornoch, Elgin, Perth, Fort William, Oban and Sleat from tenancy contracts during coronavirus crisis

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