The question of ‘what financial support should students have?’ is a difficult one.

Discussions of how best to fund students have focussed on the balance between the potential benefits to the students themselves and to the wider economy and community. The level of lifestyle which is ‘right’ for students is also much debated, especially in relation to mature-age students, student parents, and student carers.

As part of the Independent Review into Financial Support for Students we wanted to consider international evidence for how student support systems operate across the equivalents of further education (FE) and higher education (HE), and to identify potential innovations for the support system[s] in Scotland.

This report presents findings from a review of systems for student financial aid in five case study countries, along with some more general discussion of the relationship between financial aid and student participation, retention and experiences.