Getting In

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Funding full time higher education

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Higher education courses are those at Higher National Certificate (HNC) level and above, for example Higher National Diplomas (HNDs), Certificates in Higher Education (CertHEs), Diplomas in Higher Education (DipHEs) and degrees.

The Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) website gives detailed information on funding your course, and how to apply. You can download the Funding Guide 2019-2020 from the website.

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 the 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 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. You can take out a student loan to pay the fees and pay it back after you have graduated.

Young students' bursary

You’re a ‘young student’ if at the start of your course you’re under 25, 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.

How much you get depends on you and your household’s income, or both, and whether you live at your parents’ home or not. Once the SAAS have decided how much you can apply for they pass this information to the Student Loans Company (SLC). The SLC set up your loan account and pay you in monthly instalments.

For 2019-2020 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 you’ve finished or left your course. You start paying when you’re earning over £18,330 a year.

Nursing and midwifery bursary

You should apply online for a Nursing and Midwifery Student Bursary (NMSB) through the SAAS website. To ensure that the funding is in place for the start of your course, you must apply by 30 June in the year you plan to start your course.

If you’re taking an honours degree course you get £8,100 for the first three years and £6,075 in your fourth year.

You also get an extra Initial Expenses Allowance of £60 in your first year of study. Contact SAAS at 0300 555 0505 for information and advice.

Dentistry and medicine

You will get the same support as most other students. If you are studying medicine or dentistry 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.)

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