From education to employment


Students from across Scotland’s colleges and universities have condemned the impact of Universal Credit, with the National Union of Students Scotland claiming some students are out of pocket by £250 per month. 

In an open letter from NUS Scotland and St Andrew’s Students’ Association, signed by over 28 of Scotland’s leading student presidents, they call for an “urgent end” to Universal Credit and are encouraging all parliamentary candidates in the general election to support their pledge.

The move comes after NUS Scotland launched their general election manifesto, calling for an end to the detrimental impact of Universal Credit on students in Scotland.

For students receiving Universal Credit, for every £1 in support received the same amount is deducted from their monthly payments. According to NUS Scotland, this has resulted in some students losing £250+ in welfare, leaving students “destitute and desperate”.

The letter further states that some students “education is under threat due to reductions in their income” as a result of Universal Credit.

Commenting, NUS Scotland President Liam McCabe said:

“This general election is a chance to change Scotland for the better. Students in Scotland are unequivocal: the impact of Universal Credit on Scotland’s students has been an unmitigated disaster.

“The UK Government should hang their head in shame for the disastrous roll-out of their failed policy, leaving students desperate and destitute. NUS Scotland are calling on the next UK Government, of whatever party, to work with the Scottish Government to ensure Universal Credit and student support in Scotland don’t negatively interact.

“We have heard worrying reports of some students – particularly our most vulnerable students – losing out on £250 monthly income because of the way Universal Credit impacts on student support. This is abhorrently wrong.

“In this general election, we are calling on all candidate to back this pledge, ensuring universal credit is immediately halted and there is no negative impact on the support for students in Scotland as a result of this pernicious policy.

Jamie Rodney, President St Andrews Students’ Association

“While I’m proud that so many Students Associations have signed the open letter, it’s frankly appalling that this issue hasn’t received more attention until now.  

“I know of students who have had to drop out of University or be forced to choose between feeding themselves and paying for textbooks, because of a government policy that penalises, punishes and humiliates people from deprived backgrounds for going to college or university.

“If you believe in social mobility, if you believe that the transformational benefits of higher education should be available to everyone, this issue deserves your attention.” 

Related Articles