Scotland Announces Student Loans Review After Thousands Struggle To Live Without Money

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SCOTTISH STUDENT LOANS
Michael Russell has announced a review of the Scottish student loans system | Alamy

The Scottish Executive has announced a review into the student loans system after thousands were left struggling to afford food and rent because they had not received their payments.

Michel Russell revealed the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) had commissioned the review on Monday, days after the process was described as "chaos" and calls were made for an investigation.


Robin Parker
.@scotgov needs to investigate this. Should students expect to wait so long, even if applying after guarantee date?

Many students are still without their bursaries and loans despite being more than a month into the term, with reports of some being forced to leave university due to financial difficulties. They have been left without means to pay for rent or food after the student loans agency did not pay out finances which were due to be received in September.

Last week the SAAS admitted it is attempting to answer around 1,000 calls every day from students desperate to get their money.

The agency's Twitter account was also inundated with queries from exasperated and panicked students:


Natalie Morrison
And need to get back to me asap or i wont be able to live!

Jennifer haswell
on the phone again and it still can't find out the progress of my application, stressed doesn't even begin to cover it!

Russell said the review, led by the deputy chief executive of the Student Loans Company, is to ensure any improvements to the system will be identified.

"I understand the concerns raised about the time taken to process funding applications. This is a critical issue and I am therefore pleased that David Wallace will lead an independent review."

Russell added the SAAS would continue to deal with applications which have not been processed while the review was being carried out.

Despite more than two months into the university term, the SAAS is still yet to pay some students their finances.

After posting details of the review on its Facebook page, the agency has been inundated with more complaints from desperate students.

Geraldine McGeehan wrote: "I sent my application away 5 months ago, an error with my uni course details as the course is new is the reason my application couldn't get processed - that was not my fault.

"It's now been over 2 months with no money and no way of staying on at uni."

Another wrote: "Not good enough you must have known the amount of applications that you roughly receive each year as this problem occurred last year too... i am still waiting and have been at college from September.... 3 months!!!!"

The SAAS has temporarily extended its phone line opening hours and has said all applications which have not had an initial assessment will be assessed by this week.

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