Statistics from the Student Loan Company have shown that borrowing levels for Scottish students has risen to more than £10,500 by the time they graduate.
This increase represents a 42.2% rise in debt since the 2007-2008 academic year, when borrowing levels were £6,070. There was an increase of 29.5% from 2014-2016.
Student debt levels in Scotland remain far lower than in England, where students leave university with an average estimated debt of £44,000, an increase of £28,000 when compared with 5 years ago.
Opposition parties in Scotland have criticised SNP cuts to funds available to students. Labour education spokesman Iain Gray said: “Today in Scotland it is the poorest students who rack up the highest debt in Scotland… That’s not fair and it stops far too many young people getting a degree”.
A University spokesperson said: “The University of Glasgow is committed to attracting the brightest and the best students regardless of background or economic circumstance. Our widening access programmes are designed to engage with prospective students from low income areas and we work with almost 100 partner schools across the west of Scotland, along with a focus on individuals in priority postcode areas across the country.
“More than 25% of our Scottish undergraduates now come from less well advantaged areas.”
Shirley-Anne Somerville, the Scottish Government Minister for Further and Higher Education said: “Scotland continues to have the lowest average student loan debt in the UK. This Government firmly believes that access to higher education should be based on the ability to learn, not the ability to pay.”
According to Somerville, the government provides “appropriate financial support” for students.
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