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SaveStudySpend - Young Scot

Evidence type: Evaluation i

Description of the programme

Through their previous engagement with young adults to understand attitudes to credit and debt, Young Scot found that those transitioning to further and higher education often lacked understanding and awareness of the financial support available to them. In order to investigate this further, Young Scot – funded by the Money Advice Service – developed and delivered a Scotland-wide student-led investigation. It ran from early 2017 to March 2018 and aimed to identify the financial capability support and interventions that existed for further and higher education students across Scotland. Young Scot recruited a group of young people aged between 17 and 23 to form a Student Investigation Panel (SIP), who co-designed the project from planning through to delivery to evaluation.

The study

Northern Star supported the evaluation of the SaveStudySpend project. The evaluation aimed to explore whether the project led to the two key intended outcomes that were in its Ttheory of Cchange. These were:

The outcomes evaluation aimed to measure the following Theory of Change outcomes:

  • Increased understanding of financial capability support available to students.
  • More joined-up and enhanced opportunities for financial capability support being support opportunities identified to meet students’ needs.

The evaluation comprised of both a process and outcomes evaluation. The process evaluation focused on the implementation of the project by the young people in the SIP. SIP members collected data using pre and post-intervention online questionnaires and participative workshops. There were ten questionnaire responses at the start of the project and six at the end.

For the outcomes evaluation, the SIP gathered data through six workshops with students and through secondary research. It aimed to address the following research questions:

The SIP investigation focussed on the following research questions:

  • What financial capability support and interventions currently exist for students across Scotland?
  • What gaps exist in provision and how can these be addressed?
  • How can services be joined up to create bigger impact to improve access to co-ordinated financial capability support for students in Further Education (FE) and Higher Education (HE) in Scotland?

Key findings

  • The process evaluation found:
    • Young people on the SIP had an improved understanding of financial capability.
    • Young people on the SIP developed new skills through participation in the project.
    • Young people on the SIP had a clear understanding of the use and provision of financial capability services.
    • Young people on the SIP generated ideas and solutions that reflect the reality of young people’s experience.
  • The outcome evaluation found that:
    • Half of all students were unaware of services in college or university that could help with money management or budgeting.
    • Financial capability support for FE and HE students in Scotland was provided on an institution-by-institution basis.
    • There was no consistent financial capability support provision in terms of access or quality.
    • Students often only accessed support when they were in crisis and needed to access emergency financial support through hardship funds.
    • Financial capability providers need knowledge of financial products and also the interpersonal, communication, and network skills to work with clients.

Points to consider

  • Methodological limitations:
    • The project and evaluation design faced timing challenges due to the intensity of students’ academic timetables.
    • Young people in a co-design project can be inexperienced in research. Young Scot mitigated this risk by providing training and support to the SIP. In addition, the secondary research the SIP gathered on financial capability provision in Scotland was based on published reputable research.
    • Due to the short timescales of the evaluation, it could not provide insight into whether or not the project has had a sustained impact on the SIP members.
  • Generalisability/transferability:
    • Given the small size of the sample, the results from the workshops with young people cannot be generalised across every college or university across Scotland.

Full report

SaveStudySpend - full report

Key info

Client group
Measured outcomes
Programme delivered by
Young Scot
Year of publication
Contact information

Toni Andrews [email protected]/ Kelly McInnes [email protected]