HC Deb 22 July 1996 vol 282 cc104-5W
Mr. Davidson

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what arrangements are in place for grants to be provided for university education for the children of missionaries who have been working abroad. [37968]

Mr. Raymond S. Robertson

In Scotland, the provision of student grants for full-time courses of higher education up to first degree or equivalent level is governed by the Students' Allowances (Scotland) Regulations 1991. To be eligible for an award, a student must normally have been ordinarily resident in the British Islands for at least three years immediately preceding the academic year in which the course starts; and also be ordinarily resident in Scotland on 30 June of that year.

In the case of children whose parents are employed outside the British islands, including those employed as missionaries, eligibility would depend on the nature of the parents' absence. A student may be considered for a fees and maintenance award if the absence can be clearly demonstrated to be temporary, by way of fixed-term contracts, continuing links with the UK, and a clear intention at the outset to return to the UK at the end of the contract or contracts. The temporary absence provision is not specifically defined in terms of time and each case is decided on its merits.

There is also provision for a student to be considered for a full award where the parents have returned from employment in the European economic area and are resident in Scotland on the relevant date. Where the parents continue to be ordinarily resident in the European economic area at that time, the student may be considered for an award of tuition fees only.