Benefits for Students in Scotland Handbook
Part 2: Student support
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Part 2: Student support
Chapter 15: Student support

This chapter covers:

1. Full-time higher education (below)

2. Full-time further education (Cross reference)

3. Part-time students (Cross reference)

4. Postgraduates (Cross reference)

5. Nursing and midwifery students (Cross reference)

6. Other support for students (Cross reference)

This chapter outlines the support available for people studying in Scotland who are eligible for student support under the Scottish system. It lists the type of support available, but does not describe the rules for qualifying for it – eg, residence rules. For where to find information on claiming student support and how much you might get, see Appendix 2. See Chapter 16 for how student support affects universal credit, Chapter 17 for how it affects means-tested benefits, Chapter 18 for how it affects tax credits and Chapter 19 for how it affects health benefits.

Basic facts

- Most full-time undergraduate students are eligible for a student loan, and may also get a bursary and living costs grant.

– Full-time students in non-advanced education may be eligible for a bursary maintenance allowance, and grants for travel and study costs.

– Part-time students may get help with fees and other limited support.

1. Full-time higher education

This section is for full-time undergraduates (including allied healthcare students) and full-time students on Higher National Certificate (HNC)/Higher National Diploma (HND) courses. It is also relevant for full-time students on Professional Graduate Diploma in Education courses. Funding is different for other full-time postgraduates (see Cross reference) and for nursing and midwifery students (see Cross reference).

Student support from the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) is made up of:Footnote

tuition fees; student loan; care experienced students' bursary; young students' bursary; independent students' bursary; dependants' grant; lone parents' grant;

care experienced accommodation grant ;

disabled students' allowance.

In addition, your college or university administers a:

lone parents' childcare grant; discretionary fund;

childcare fund.

Travel expenses are no longer available, except for students doing a compulsory year abroad, for a placement on an allied health professions or nursing course, and for disabled students who cannot use public transport.

Previous study

You cannot usually get your tuition fees paid if you have previously been on a full-time higher education course and had help from public funds. You may, however, get one year's additional funding if you need this – eg, to change courses or repeat a period of study. This is known as a 'plus one' year.

Contact SAAS to check your entitlement. Even if you are not entitled to help with your tuition fees, you can normally apply for a student loan and living costs grants.

Tuition fees

Tuition fees are paid directly to your college or university. Your income is not assessed and the amounts are not repayable. If your fees are higher than the amounts payable, you must pay the difference.


 Tuition fees 2018/19  
HNC/HND or equivalent £1,285
Degree or equivalent £1,820

Student loan

Student loans are low-interest loans for students, only repayable when you have graduated and are earning over £18,330 a year. You repay the loan at a rate of 9 per cent of your income which exceeds £18,330. Student loans are partly based on your income. You must provide a national insurance number in order to get a loan. If you do not have one, you can apply to the DWP.Footnote


Maximum student loan 2018/19
Family income Dependent student under 25 Independent student under 25, or student aged 25 or over
Below £24,000 £5,750 £6,750
£24,000 to £33,999 £5,750 £6,250
£34,000 or over £4,750 £4,750


Care experienced students' bursary
Students who have previously been looked after by a local authority in the UK (known as 'care experienced') and who are under 26 at the start of their course are eligible for a care experienced students' bursary.Footnote  This is a non-income-assessed grant of £8,100 from 2018/19, and is paid instead of the student loan/bursary package.
Young students' bursary

You are eligible if you are under 25 on the first day of the first academic year of your course (for an autumn start course, this is 1 August) and from a family with an income of less than £34,000 a year. The amount of the bursary depends on your and your family's income. In 2018/19, a maximum of £1,875 is paid if your and your family's combined income is under £19,000 a year. It is paid on top of the maximum loan of £5,750.

Independent students' bursary

The independent students' bursary is paid in addition to the maximum loan of £6,750. Students classed as independent are eligible for £875 if their household income is below £19,000 a year. 

Dependants' grant
This is an income-assessed, non-repayable grant that you can claim for a spouse, civil partner, partner, or adult dependant who you care for. The maximum amount in 2018/19 is £2,640. There is no longer any dependants' grant for children. Instead, students are expected to claim child tax credit or universal credit.
Lone parents' grant
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