Monday 15th May 2023
The RAF Families Federation (RAFFF) were pleased to note that responses from the Armed Forces community were acknowledged in the Further and Higher Education – residency criteria for access to financial support: consultation analysis published on 12 May 2023.
The Scottish Government have stated the consultation responses, in addition to stakeholder engagement, have helped to shape the new residency policies being laid before Parliament.
While the consultation has helped identify a number of important points which have been reflected in our response, it has also helped identify some areas where further consideration will now be required. These are set out in more detail in this document.
For the 2023/24 AY, the Scottish Government have amended their residency eligibility criteria in two areas, namely:
- Relevant connection to Scotland
- Young unaccompanied Asylum Seekers and children of Asylum Seekers
Further information on these changes are set out in this document.
Source: Further and Higher education – residency criteria for access to financial support: consultation analysis (www.gov.scot) Accessed: 12 May 2023.
The RAFFF would like to thank those of you who completed our snap shot survey on further and higher education funding arrangements or contacted us on this issue to help inform our response to the consultation. It was helpful to receive a range of responses which enabled us to gain a greater insight into the lived experience to help us advocate on your behalf.
Scottish Further and Higher Education consultation analysis and the Armed Forces
The consultation analysis highlighted that:
“There have been a significant number of responses in the consultation in relation to Armed Forces personnel and/or their dependants. Several bodies representing various factions of the Armed Forces were critical of the current policies around access to home fee status and student financial support.
The Scottish Government has a four nations approach with the other Devolved Administrations in the UK regarding support at Higher Education level for Armed Forces personnel. The agreement is that ordinary residence is generally decided by the country in which the member of the military enlists. Therefore, their allocated funding body for the purposes of Higher Education student financial support regardless of where the personnel and their family reside at the point of application is decided by where they are considered ordinarily resident. There is no four nations policy in place in regards to Further Education.
The current Higher Education policy is particularly criticised by those who may have enlisted in England or Wales and have been based in Scotland for a number of years – the consultation exercise particularly highlighted a difficulty with those who reside in Service accommodation. The consultation responses were also critical of the approach taken within Further Education.
Given the complexities of the subject due to the four nation approach in Higher Education, potential differing approaches in Further Education across the UK and requirement for engagement with the Ministry of Defence, it was not possible to reach a conclusion on this issue in the current regulatory timescales. Scottish Government officials will consider this matter further and acknowledge that many of the stakeholder groups who responded to the consultation noted their willingness to engage further on the matter.”
Source: Residency criteria for access to financial support in Further and Higher Education: consultation analysis (www.gov.scot) Accessed: 12 May 2023.
The RAFFF will continue to engage on this matter to ensure the challenges raised to us are heard by policy makers as we work to improve the lived experience for the RAF community.