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13 June 2007

Stevenson Welcomes SNP Commitment To End Graduate Endowment

Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson has welcomed the proposal by Education Secretary Fiona Hyslop to scrap the Graduate Endowment scheme.

Mr Stevenson said:

"The graduate endowment scheme was always a fudge, introduced by the Lib-Lab coalition in 2001 to replace the highly unpopular tuition fees.

"It was introduced as part of a system of student support based on the principles of the Cubie committee: student support should promote social inclusion, barriers to widening access and participation should be removed. It is a policy that has failed to deliver those aims.

"The SNP want to see Scottish Education return to the principle that it is an individual's ability to learn, not their ability to pay, that dictates their educational achievement.

"Not only is the graduate endowment unreasonable, at a time when we need to invest in our most important resource, our people, it is also singularly inefficient as a method of raising money.

"I hope that our proposal will gain support, particularly from the Lib-Dems, who were always keen to peddle the half-truth that tuition fees had been abolished, when, in reality, the graduate endowment meant they were simply deferred.

"I regard this is a positive step forward for Scotland and the removal of a barrier to young people achieving their full potential. It also demonstrates the SNP's commitment to a thriving higher education sector, which us particularly relevant in this region given the need for the Crichton to continue to flourish and expand."
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