New figures from the Scottish Funding Council have revealed that there is a £285,000 shortfall in funds to pay bursaries for Ayrshire College students.
'In Year Re-distribution' is an annual exercise where Colleges are able to apply for additional funds to meet student need. For 2015-16 Ayrshire College applied for £473,863 and received £188,000 - a 60% shortfall on what they requested.
Unlike HE students, FE students have no funding entitlement. That means they have no guarantee of funding. The support system for FE students is cash-limited and discretionary, meaning it works on the basis of money available as opposed to student need.
Councillor Joe Cullinane, the Labour and Co-operative MSP candidate for Cunninghame South, has said it is time to change the funding system.
"This shortfall in available funds is a worry for all students at Ayrshire College."
"Most College students rely on their student support package and if funds weren't available it would be an absolute disaster for many."
"It is vitally important that money is found in the Scottish budget to support College students and address this shortfall. However, this is not new and with the 'In Year Re-distribution' system there are shortfalls year after year. It is therefore time to ditch this outdated, discretionary system and instead provide FE students with an entitlement to funding which will guarantee them the financial support that they need to complete their course."