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QAA Scotland launches first in a series of events on promoting learning success during cost of living crisis

Date: November 1 - 2023

The ongoing and significant impact of the current cost of living crisis on learners studying at Scotland’s universities continues to capture news headlines. The National Union of Students in Scotland (NUS Scotland) is currently campaigning for students in the costs of living crisis, calling for: an increase in grants and bursaries; rent controls; and half-price travel fares. While a range of organisations including the Sutton Trust, the University of York, Advance HE and the Higher Education Policy Institute have recently published the outcomes of research undertaken to improve understanding of the issue and develop solutions that go beyond financial support. The impact of the cost of living crisis on students’ ability to appropriately engage with their studies and the negative impact on student retention were among the many concerns recently debated by members of the Scottish Higher Education Committee (SHEEC).

In response, QAA Scotland and SHEEC are taking forward a project (Supporting our learners to thrive: Promoting learner success during the cost of living crisis) during session 2023-24, which amongst other things will deliver a short series of discussion sessions which will provide staff and students with the opportunity to hear from a range of experts on the latest research and discuss practical changes to learning and succeed in the challenging conditions associated with the current cost of living crisis. More information on this project will be available on our website soon. 

The first event in this discussion series will focus on the vital role a sense of belonging plays in supporting students, and takes place online on 23 November. Hosted by Professor Alison Green (Deputy Chair of SHEEC), this first session provides participants with a fantastic opportunity to hear about the outcomes of the latest research being undertaken by Sunday Blake (Associate Editor, Wonkhe) and Gail Capper (Outcomes and Insights Manager, Pearson) on the links between learner sense of belonging to support student success during the cost of living crisis. This exciting new research builds on existing work that Sunday and Gail have undertaken - Building Belonging in Higher Education - Recommendation for developing and integrated institutional approach.  

Other Panellists include:  

  • Ellie Gomersall (President, NUS Scotland) on some of the reporting and campaign work NUS Scotland has been undertaking to get greater understanding of the key challenges students and particular student groups are facing. (TBC) 

This is an opportunity to engage with the latest research demonstrating the importance of sense of belonging to student success. It is likely to be of most relevance to those working in programme design and delivery.