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Cash bonus for students

Councillor Susan Leslie

Councillor Susan Leslie

A Kirkcaldy councillor has spoken of her delight at the success of a three year campaign to win cash awards for Kirkcaldy students.

A Kirkcaldy councillor has spoken of her delight at the success of a three year campaign to win cash awards for Kirkcaldy students.

Susan Leslie expressed delight after local students received bumper awards in time for Christmas from the Fitzgerald Trust which helps senior students with their studies.

Councillor Leslie first raised issues with the Trust, administered by Fife Council, back in 2010 when she believed advertising of the scheme was poor, with students saying they did not know when applications opened.

A year later she was made aware of some students being refused funding, with the Trust declining to explain why, despite them meeting the public criteria.

Councillor Leslie said: “Following protracted investigations Fife Council finally revealed that there were further criteria on which applicants were judged, despite applicants not being aware of this. Among those was that students in post-school study were refused if they had not applied in the first year of their course.

She argued that this criteria was unfair and it has since been removed by the US-based trustees.

Those who were refused on this condition were written to by Fife Council and offered a double award for this year, which arrived in time for Christmas.

Councillor Leslie commented: “This has been an immensely frustrating process, but I am thrilled to have resolved this for the young people of Kirkcaldy.

‘‘Although it has taken three years, this award which can help young people fund their study will no longer be based on unknown criteria and will instead be administered fairly to all.

One student said: “I had given up on getting this award even though I knew I was eligible. I’m going into my final semester at Dundee University and this money will make a big difference.”

The Francis H Fitzgerald Trust

Set up from funds left by Francis H Fitzgerald who was educated in Kirkcaldy, it is administered by the Council on behalf of Trustee, the First Duluth Bank of Minnesota. It provides awards to help pupils: continuing their education at school after reaching the minimum leaving age; attending full time courses at university or college; attending part-time courses, as part of an apprenticeship or trade at school or college.

 

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