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Hundreds of students in Scotland dropping out citing financial hardship

Hundreds of students  in Scotland are dropping out for financial reasons, according to new figures.
Hundreds of students in Scotland are dropping out for financial reasons, according to new figures.

Hundreds of students in Scotland are dropping out of university for financial reasons every year, new figures show.

Nearly 1,700 across the country abandoned their studies in the past five years because of cash problems.

Over the same period, more than 40,000 students resorted to applying for hardship funds, according to statistics released under freedom of information rules.

Since the 2011/12 academic year, some 150 students have dropped out of Aberdeen University, citing financial reasons.

In 2011/12, a total of 49 left, 40 in 2012/13, 17 in 2013/14 and 31 in 2014/15 – compared to 13 this academic year so far.

Over the same period, 365 dropped out of the Robert Gordon University, again citing financial reasons.

The numbers have consistently fallen from 119 in 2011/12 down to 30 this academic year so far.

At the University of the Highlands and Islands, a total of 201 dropped out between 2011/12 and January 6 of this year.

The number was 45 in 2011/12, 58 in 2012/13, 39 in 2013/14, 41 in 2014/15 and 18 this year.

It is understood the figures are likely to represent the tip of the iceberg as some universities admit they do not formally record reasons for leaving.

A Universities Scotland spokeswoman said it was good news that student retention continued to improve, adding it is something universities take “extremely seriously”.

She added that they provide discretionary hardship funds which do not have to be repaid and all universities offer support and advice on financial matters.

Iain Gray, Scottish Labour’s spokesman for opportunity, said the SNP should be “absolutely ashamed” of the figures.

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