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Scottish Government must avoid 'Two-Tier' support for dental students  

16 February 2021


The British Dental Association Scotland is seeking urgent clarification from the Scottish Government, following news that final year students at Aberdeen have been told they will not be eligible for financial support after delays to their graduation.


On Friday Ministers announced a support package, with a bursary of up to £6,750. Aberdeen finalists, who are not expected to see their graduation extended by a full year have been informed by university staff they will not qualify for this support.


There remain questions over the status of English, Welsh, Northern Irish and overseas students studying at Scottish dental schools.   


An open letter has been issued to Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport Jeane Freeman, and Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills John Swinney.  


David McColl, Chair of the British Dental Association's Scottish Dental Practice Committee said:   


"We welcomed this bursary announcement in no uncertain terms. It demonstrated the necessary leadership we expect from all UK governments.   


"So, we are deeply disturbed by reports that final year students at Aberdeen have been told they will not qualify for government support, by virtue of the fact their extension will not cover a full 12 months.  


"We would hope this is an administrative oversight that will be immediately rectified. If it is not it will signal a two-tier approach that will protect some students from a mountain of debt, but not others.   


"Questions remain over the status of English, Welsh, Northern Irish, and overseas students at all Scotland's dental schools.   


"What every final year student now requires is certainty and support."