SAAS Annual Report and Accounts 2013-2014 - page 10

Disabled Students Allowance (DSA)
Extra support may be available to students who incur additional costs as a result of a disability. This
support covers items ranging from computer software, hardware and consumables to non-medical
personal help.
During 2013-14, 6,270 applications were received for DSA, an increase of 8.6% on the previous year.
NHS Bursary Scheme
During session 2013-14 we processed 628 applications from dental and biomedical students eligible for
support under the NHS Bursary Scheme. This scheme assists undergraduate students looking for support
to fund a medical career.
Individual Learning Accounts (ILA)
We work in partnership with Skills Development Scotland (SDS) to assess applications for support under
the Individual Learning Accounts (ILA) scheme. This year we received and processed 62,370 applications
and 18,113 income reassessments on behalf of this scheme.
This was a drop in applications of 17% from the previous year. Reduction in the numbers of applications
was due to a change in eligibility criteria which came into force at the start of the 2013-14 session.
The chart below shows the amount of debt we have recovered in the period 2008-09 to 2013-14.
Cash recovered 2008-2014
During the year we recovered £3,586,503, an increase of 0.9% on the previous year.
At the end of March 2014, outstanding debt totalled £13.1m. Of that total, £3.7m (28%) is attributable
to student nurses and midwives whose bursaries we administer on behalf of the Scottish Government’s
Health and Social Care Directorate. This high proportion can be attributed to the nature of the support
package offered to student nurses and midwives.
Information and advice
We continued to focus on increasing awareness of student funding and encouraged students to apply
well in advance of starting their courses.
We produced and distributed posters, postcards and booklets across Scotland and contacted continuing
students through emails. In addition, for the first time we were able to target new university students
through UCAS and encourage them to apply. We attended over 300 events at institutions, schools and
career conventions speaking to current and future students and their families to give them information
about student support and how we can help them. This was a significant increase on the number of visits
which took place in the previous year (just over 200) due to increased working with the widening
participation organisations who promote SAAS visits through the secondary education establishments.
This was the first year that we produced a postcard for teachers to give to students to tell them about SAAS.
The SAAS Helpline is our main route into the Agency for all enquiries and we answered 256,000 calls
during the year. We made significant changes to the service – increasing our staffing levels and providing
more flexible opening hours. These improvements meant that we were able to answer almost 100% of
customer calls and our average waiting time was 20 seconds.
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