Funding full time higher education

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Higher education courses are those at Higher National Certificate (HNC) (SCQF Level 7) level and above, for example Higher National Diplomas (HNDs) (SCQF Level 8), Certificates of Higher Education (CertHEs) (SCQF Level 7), Diplomas of Higher Education (DipHEs) (SCQF Level 8) and degrees (SCQF Level 9-10).

The Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) website gives detailed information on funding your course, and how to apply at

You apply online to the SAAS for your tuition fees, student loan and supplementary grants. You can track the progress of your application online.

Tuition fees

As long as you meet certain residency requirements, SAAS will pay your tuition fees. But you must apply to them each year to have your fees paid. Apply by 30 June in the year of entry to guarantee funding by the start of your course. If you do not apply by 31 March 2022, you may have to pay your own fees.

If you live in Scotland but go to a university in England, Wales or Northern Ireland you may have to pay up to £9,250 towards your fees each year. You can take out a student loan to pay the fees and pay it back after you have graduated. Apply for the loan by 30 June 2021 to have your funding in place if your course starts in autumn 2021.

Young students' bursary

You’re a ‘young student’ if at the start of your course you’re under 25, are not married, in a civil partnership or living with a partner and you’ve not been supporting yourself financially for three years. You should have no dependent children.

You don’t have to pay back the Young Students’ Bursary. How much you get depends on your household income. You must be studying in Scotland.

Apply online as soon as you have an unconditional place on a course.

Independent students' bursary

If you don’t meet the criteria for a Young Students’ Bursary then you may be eligible for an Independent Students’ Bursary. The amount you receive depends on your household income. If it is £20,999 or less a year, you are entitled to £1,000. If your income is more than that then you are not eligible, but can still apply for a student loan of up to £6,750, depending on your income.

Specific details are available on the SAAS website at

Care Experienced Students' Bursary

If you have ever been looked after by a UK local authority and are under 26 on the first day of the first academic year of your course, then you could be eligible for a bursary of £8,100. This is not means tested.

Specific details are available on the SAAS website at

Student loans for living costs

A student loan is to help with the cost of living – accommodation, food, books, clothes, travelling costs and all the other things you’ll need.

For 2021-2022 the maximum loan available for someone studying a course in Scotland that lasts 30 weeks and who lives at their parents’ home is:

For independent students, the amounts are:

You should apply to the SAAS as early as you can before the closing dates.

You don’t repay your loan until the April after you have graduated or left your course. You start paying when you’re earning over £25,000 a year.

Paramedic, Nursing and Midwifery bursary

You should apply online for a Paramedic, Nursing and Midwifery Student Bursary (PNMSB) through the SAAS website. Apply as soon as you have a place on a course.

You get £10,000 for the first three years and £7,500 in your fourth year.

You also get an extra Initial Expenses Allowance of £60 in your first year of study and may also be eligible for other allowances, depending on your circumstances. Contact SAAS at 0300 555 0505 for information and advice.

Medicine students

You will get the same support as most other students. If you are studying medicine in the rest of the UK you can apply to have your tuition fees paid from the fifth year of study. (Medicine students at the University of St Andrews pay for their fourth year if studying outside Scotland, but can reapply for funding years 5 and 6.)

Dental Student Support Grant (DSSG)

If you are enrolled for the Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) at the Universities of Aberdeen, Dundee or Glasgow, you can apply for the Dental Student Support Grant (DSSG). This provides £4,000 each year for those whose annual household income is less than £34,000 a year. You must commit to working in NHS Dentistry in Scotland after graduation. Full information is available on

Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) students

If you are studying for a PGDE, you will receive the same funding as an undergraduate student regardless of any previous postgraduate study.

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