The Scottish government did not consult on reforms to the student travel expenses regime, education secretary Mike Russell has admitted.
In a letter to isles MSP Tavish Scott, who has campaigned to ensure Shetland students do not lose out under the new system, Mr Russell said students had not been asked about the proposed change.
Mr Scott said: “The minister is choosing to ignore figures which tell the full story of students trying to manage on a tight budget. The system has changed from a travel grant of around £300 plus three return trips to a maximum loan increase of £350. How can most students be better off under this new system?
“I fail to see how the average payment to a Shetland student in 2009/2010 can be £395 when the Scottish average of those receiving over £350 was £643 in the same year. The figures just don’t make sense.
“I have been left with no alternative but to write to the minister again and ask him to address my points in more detail. The government keeps insisting that these changes will result in more money in students’ pockets but their promises amount to nothing more than magic beans.”