What Scottish Government Grants or Funds Am I Entitled To Get for my Education Courses?

If you are moving into higher education and are hoping to obtain funding to be able to pay for your course, you will want to know whether there are any funds or grants that you are entitled to. Here, we look at the various options which may be open to you depending on your personal circumstances.

Who Is Eligible For Funding?

Although students in the rest of the UK must pay fees for their higher education studies, Scottish students are often able to obtain funding to pay for the cost of their course. Whether or not an individual student is entitled to have their tuition fees paid will depend on several factors, including:

  • The college or university the student plans to attend
  • The course being taken
  • The residency status of the applicant
  • Whether or not this is the first high education course to be completed by the applicant.

As a general rule, any student who normally lives in Scotland and meets the residency criteria will probably be eligible to receive funding for their course fees from the SAAS.

The majority of high education funding which is available from the Scottish Government will only be awarded for the student’s first full time undergraduate course (or equivalent) at an institution in the Republic of Ireland or the UK. These courses include honours degrees, HNCs, HNDs and some postgraduate courses. Students who are eligible and who are taking a course which has a year abroad as part of the programme will receive their SAAS funding during their year away.

Anyone studying for an undergraduate course which requires a degree to gain entry, the only available funds are a student loan for living costs as well as supplementary grants.

Government Support When Studying In Scotland

For students who are going to be studying at a Scottish college or university, there are several funding options available.

  • A tuition fee grant – this covers the entirety of the course fees and does not need to be paid back. It is paid direct to the institution
  • A student loan – this covers living costs and the amount which is available to borrow will depend on the household income and where you are studying. These funds are paid to your bank and must be repaid after finishing the course and obtaining a job which pays a high enough salary.
  • Young Students’ Bursary – this is a grant which can be obtained every year to assist in paying for living costs and does not require repayment. It is paid directly into the student’s bank account and the amount available depends on household income.
  • Independent Students’ Bursary – this may be available instead of the Young Students’ Bursary and is offered to eligible students aged over 25. The amount depends on household income and does not need to be repaid.
  • Travel and insurance costs – if you are studying overseas as part of your course, it’s possible to claim back the costs of travel and any medical insurance

What About If I’m Studying Elsewhere In The UK?

If you are a Scottish student studying in the UK or Republic of Ireland, there is still government support available. The awards which are available are the same as those available to students who are studying in Scotland, although the tuition fees will be higher.

Anyone who is not eligible to receive government funding can speak to the university’s finance officer or search for a scholarship or sponsorship scheme.

What About Part Time Students?

If you are studying part time, you will not be eligible to receive any support for your living costs through the SAAS. However, there are other options available to you. You may possibly be able to obtain a Part Time Fee Grant which will help towards paying your tuition fees. In order to be eligible to receive this grant you must:

  • Earn under £25,000 per year
  • Be studying on a course that is worth a minimum of 30 credits

A year on a standard full time Scottish course usually awards 120 credits, and 360 credits is required to obtain an ordinary degree with 480 being necessary for an honours degree. By checking with your university you will be able to find out how many SCQF credits (Scottish Credit Qualifications Framework) your course will award you. Once you’ve registered with the SAAS you should make your grant application, and you must renew your grant application every year.

Part time students may not be able to obtain any other type of government funding, however if they have a disability they may be able to get assistance with some of their additional costs. Part time students are advised to check with their institution to determine what kind of support may be available to them.

The Differences Between The English And Scottish Law

Although both Scotland and England are part of the UK, Scotland has its own distinct judicial system and its own jurisdiction. Rather than being solely a Common Law system, Scottish law is a mixed system, and it is important to be aware of the differences, especially if you plan to study law in a Scottish institution.

The History Of Scottish Law

In 1707, the Treaty of Union made provision for Scotland to have its own judicial system as distinct from that in England. Historically, Scottish law adhered mainly to the influences and traditions of continental law, however in the 19th century, English laws began to assert themselves. In many ways, Scottish Law has a number of similarities to the law in South Africa with is Roman-Dutch in origin, however at the present time EU legislation has meant that many contemporary laws (especially those relating to consumer protection and commercial law) are valid across the entire UK, however in other fields, there are still clear differences between English and Scottish legislation. Nevertheless, a case which has been heard in a court in Scotland can still be referred to the Supreme Court of the UK.

In Scotland, the courts system consists of three separate courts – civil cases are tried in the courts of session, criminal cases in the court of judiciary and also the Sheriff Courts which are for both civil and criminal cases. In England, on the other hand, the courts system consists of judges who make a decision based on legal precedent. Overall power is held in the Supreme Court of the UK and the decision made there is final.

Scottish Laws Regarding Financial Settlement After Divorce

Just one of the areas in which Scottish Law and English Law differ dramatically is in the field of financial settlement following a divorce. The Family Law (Scotland) Act of 1985 adopts a fair sharing principle which is based on dividing up all total assets, usually in an even 50:50 split. While the financial requirements of both parties and any children is borne in mind, it is not top of the considerations. Spousal maintenance is restricted to just 3 years and it is very unlikely to continue for a long-term period.

Meanwhile, in England, the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 sets out that the needs of the parties and any children is paramount when determining a financial settlement following a divorce and sharing comes much lower down the priorities list. It is also very possible to obtain a divorce in England but not to address the matter of finances until many years later. Another major difference is in spousal maintenance, with “joint lives” orders being fairly common, meaning that the higher earning partner must pay the other maintenance for life.

Differences Regarding Wills And Probate Law

Another area in which there are considerable differences is in the drawing up of a will in both countries. In England, marriage invalidates any previous will, however in Scotland this is not the case, and in Scotland a will can be signed without any present witnesses, and witnesses can also be beneficiaries, which is not possible in England. Under Scottish law, children and spouses have “prior rights” and therefore cannot be excluded from their inheritance, which again is not the case in England.

Property Law Differences

One of the main areas of difference is in property law and conveyancing, with Scottish solicitors having a larger hold over the housing market than their English counterparts. In fact, in Scotland, solicitors often sell the properties themselves, acting as both legal advisor and estate agent. In England, a contract of sale must be negotiated, signed and then exchanged, in Scotland, several documents called missives are exchanged instead. These missives mean that transactions become binding quite early in the purchasing process, which means the gazumping is less likely to be a problem.

In England, surveys are paid for by the purchaser, whereas in Scotland, the seller deals with this element, and there are also differences in the laws relating to property taxes, with no Stamp Duty being payable in Scotland, but a Land and Building Transaction Tax being payable instead.

Differences between personal injury claims in England and Scotland

Whilst the process for claiming against personal injury is largely the same, there are a few notable differences. In Scotland, injury claims for the most part are successfully handled out of court. In Scotland there are two courts, the Sheriff Court for smaller claims and the Court of Session for more extensive claims. The size and severity of your personal injury claim in Scotland will determine which court is used, in comparison to England where small courts and law firms like Legal Helpline for personal injury claims handle claims of all sizes.

Claims classed as ‘No Win, No Fee’ in England are made under ‘tort’ law, but in Scotland this is called ‘delict’ law. They are fairly similar, but there are subtle differences with the potential to affect your actual claim.

If you’re claiming north of the border, it’s a known fact that personal injury claims aren’t likely to payout 100% of the compensation you’ve been awarded because solicitors there can take up to 30% of your entitlement. For this reason it’s always good to pay close attention to the CFA you sign with the solicitor and it will lay out clearly the % which will be taken.

This is just a brief look at some of the differences between laws in England and north of the border, and while some areas of law are extremely similar, such as employment law, there are often small differences which can be very important when it comes to taking a case to court. Even certain legal terms are different. For example, the crime of arson in England is called “fire raising” in Scotland. Anyone who is keen to study law must therefore make sure that they are applying for an appropriate course of study so that they will be able to practice in the country of their choice once they graduate.

What Is Scotland’s Highest Rated University?

Scotland is a popular place to study, not just for Scots but for people from all over the world. Home to some of the top performing universities not just in the UK but anywhere worldwide, Scotland is well known for its cultural diversity, rich heritage, beautiful landscapes and national traditions. For anyone who is keen to study north of the border, there are many outstanding institutions to choose from. But which is the highest rated university in Scotland?

The University Of Edinburgh

The University of Edinburgh is currently ranked as the top institution in Scotland. The 6th oldest university anywhere in the English-speaking world, this institution has had a presence in the capital city of Scotland since 1583. Based in the “old town”, the university is still surrounded by beautifully preserved buildings from the era of the reformation and offers an amazing educational experience for its students.

Ranking joint 23rd out of all the institutions in the world and joint 5th across the whole of the UK, Edinburgh University has a clear role in the status of the city as a vibrant cultural centre for comedy and theatre and a hub of information and knowledge. Students come to study here from all around the globe and even the staff represent a wealth of cultures, with over 130 countries being represented in the hallowed halls. Known for its stimulating learning, teaching and working environment, this university offers impressive facilities which have attracted some of the best minds in history. Some of the best-known alumni include Noble prize-winning laureates, explorers, investors and pioneers.

Today, the university is home to over 35,000 students and continues to appeal to some of the brightest stars. Offering many methods of study from online courses on courses taught on campus, this institution is proud to be the biggest provider of distance learning among all of the Russell Group universities, with over 60 programmes on offer.

Research And Teaching Excellence

The University of Edinburgh was recently given the highest possible rating by the Quality Assurance Agency for the student learning experience on offer, and it’s easy to see why. There are over 500 different undergraduate courses to choose from as well as 300 masters degrees and 135 different areas of research.

This institution also holds a well-earned place as one of the UK’s top research universities, with 83% of its research being rated as internationally excellent or world leading, and taking 4th position in the whole of the UK for the breadth of quality of research.

Over the years, Edinburgh University’s culture of research has led to many world-changing discoveries including genetic cloning in the form of Dolly the sheep, the Higgs Boson particle and chloroform anaesthesia.

Student Support And Facilities

Students at the University of Edinburgh can expect to receive a high level of support with both their personal and academic needs. International students have their own special office where non-UK students and applicants can obtain assistance and for those who require help with the language there is also a specialist English Language Education department. Students can also benefit from a counselling service, health centre, disability service, childcare service, chaplaincy and Advice Place.

The university also offers an extensive library with 3.4 million books in print plus over 400,000 e-books and 45,000 electronic journals. As the campus has the biggest computing network on a campus anywhere in Britain, it’s a great place to take advantage of online services. When it comes to socialising, this institution won’t disappoint either with more than 280 student societies and group, 2 nightclubs and 12 bars across the campus.

Courses And Programmes

There is an enormous breadth of courses available at this institution, from medicine and nursing to English Literature and Applied Sports Science and everything in between. Although most undergraduate courses last for 4 years such as training to be a road traffic accident solicitor where specialist knowledge is needed of car accident compensation amounts, some graduate courses are shorter and other specialist programmes are longer, with medicine taking 6 years to complete and veterinary medicine and fine art taking 5 years.

Highly qualified applicants may be able to join the course in the second year and have a three year programme instead of 4.

The undergraduate programmes are very flexible with most courses giving students the opportunity to study a broad spectrum of subjects in the first two years before taking specialist subjects in the third and fourth years. There are also international exchange opportunities, with students being able to experience education in more than 270 places worldwide.

Graduates leaving the University of Edinburgh can also look forward to excellent career prospects, with 80% of leavers qualifying with a 2:1 award or First. The institutions alumni are also among some of the top earners in the UK with a £49,500 salary within 5 years of graduating, making studying at Edinburgh an excellent prospect for ambitious learners.