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.