UNIVERSITY students will be able to spread their financial support over a 12-month period to help with costs over the summer months.

Typically, students were only able to access loans and bursaries over a nine-month period, with support unavailable during the months before the new academic year.

However, the Scottish Government has confirmed eligible undergraduate students will now be able to spread the payments over a year.

Students can select the nine or 12-month options when applying through Student Awards Agency Scotland (Saas) for the 2024/25 academic year.

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The annual payment will not change, with those opting for the 12-month plan receiving lower monthly payments to spread it across the year.

Higher education minister Graeme Dey said: “The summer months can be a difficult period for learners when their payments stop. These changes will ensure that learners can access the vital funds they need the whole year round.

“This is another example of the actions being taken by the Scottish Government to support students through the cost-of-living crisis. Scotland already has the lowest student debt levels in the UK, which is thanks to our commitment to free tuition and our enhanced student support offering.

“We are already seeing a record number of students from Scotland’s most deprived areas applying to study at university.

The National: It is hoped the measure will help some students through the cost of living crisisIt is hoped the measure will help some students through the cost of living crisis

“The changes made to the student support package will help to further break down barriers and ensure that access to our world-class institutions is not denied to anyone, whatever their background.”

The change follows a successful two-year programme where care-experienced students were given the option of 12-month packages.

Care-experienced students will continue to receive additional support for their living costs under the summer accommodation grant from 2024.

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Those eligible will be entitled to a payment of up to £1330 to ensure they do not fall into arrears over the summer.

These changes will coincide with the £2400 increase to the annual support package, which sees the main undergraduate funding package rise up to £11,400.

Eligible students living with family members or friends will be entitled to a grant of £665.