The scheme has been created to encourage Scottish students to study overseas and improve their employment opportunities, a flip from previous Saltire programmes that provide funding for foreign students to travel to and study at Scottish institutions.
“I want to see… our students enhance the skills that employers require”: Russell
“I want to see as many of our students as possible enhance the skills that employers require in an increasing global marketplace,” said Russell. “Studying abroad offers many opportunities, be they learning new cultures, improving language skills or developing a global perspective. These and other benefits are well recognised by businesses.”
The funding is open to all publicly funded higher education institutions, colleges and student associations in Scotland. Scholarships will be awarded on a match funded basis between the students’ home university and the Scottish government.
As there is no limit to the bid a person can make, it is impossible to know how many applicants will be accepted but each project will be assessed on a case by case basis.
“We want to see greater cross-border flows in both directions”
Students apply through the institutions or student associations who then make a bid to the government.
Russell added that the government wants “to ensure Scotland remains at the heart of student mobility”; something that Alastair Sim, director of Universities Scotland, welcomed.
“Scotland is very proud to welcome thousands of international students to our universities every year but far fewer Scots typically go overseas for study,” he told The PIE News. “We want to see greater cross-border flows in both directions and this support will make this realistic for many more of our students.”
“Having the chance to spend time abroad, improving language skills and understanding different cultures as part of their studies will ultimately enhance the employability of Scottish students in an ever increasing competitive and global economy and will give them a life-changing experience which will stay with them for many years,” he added.
The fund joins other schemes from the government to increase outward mobility including the Life Through Learning programme which provides opportunities for Scottish students to study in China.