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Financing your studies

University tuition fees and financial support in Scotland

An overview of undergraduate university tuition fees and student loans if you’re from Scotland.

Royal Mile, Edinburgh, Scotland
  1. CONTENTS
  2. Undergraduate student loans in Scotland
  3. Tuition fees and tuition fee loans
  4. Student loans for your living costs
  5. Extra funding for university
  6. Studying abroad or on a placement year
  7. Funding and second degrees
  8. Applying for a student loan in Scotland
  9. Repaying your student loan

Undergraduate student loans in Scotland

If you’re a degree student from Scotland in 2021/22, you may get more financial support for your tuition fees than elsewhere in the UK, but you'll have less support for your living costs from a student loan.

To be classed as a student from Scotland, you’ll normally need to have lived in Scotland for three years before starting your course. See our information on student finance eligibility for details, which also covers arrangements for students after Brexit.

Tuition fees and tuition fee loans

If you’re going to university in Scotland

If you attend university in Scotland, you can be charged up to £1,820 a year for an undergraduate degree. You don’t need a student loan for this – instead the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) will pay your fees for you, if you’re eligible. You must apply to SAAS each year for them to do this.

If you’re going to a private university in Scotland, SAAS will only pay £1,205, but the fees you're charged may be higher.

If you’re going to university in England, Northern Ireland or Wales – or elsewhere

If you study outside Scotland your fees won’t be paid, but you can get a student loan. At English and Northern Irish universities, you can be charged up to £9,250 per year for undergraduate tuition. Welsh universities can charge up to £9,000. If you’re taking an accelerated degree at a publicly-funded university in England, fees can be up to £11,100, but these courses take less time to complete than the usual degree. You could also choose to study at an eligible university in the Republic of Ireland.

You need to apply online to SAAS (and reapply every year) for a student loan to help with your fees. Loans are up to £9,250 (or £11,100 for an accelerated degree).

If you’re heading to a uni that’s not publicly funded, the maximum tuition fee loan is £6,165 (or £7,400 for an accelerated degree) but providers may charge more. You’ll need to fund the difference yourself.

Student loans for your living costs

Loans for your living costs are available from SAAS if you’re from Scotland and studying a full-time degree course (excluding nursing or midwifery at a Scottish university). Unlike student loans elsewhere in the UK, there's no weighting for where you live while you study, which means no additional financial support if you wish to study in London or live away from home.

Young students

You're a 'young' student if you’re under 25 years old and classed as 'dependent', i.e. reliant on your parents' income, don't have a child dependent on you and aren't married, in a civil partnership or living with a partner.

Your student loan could be a maximum of £5,750 (means-tested) or a minimum (non-means-tested) loan of £4,750. If your household income is above £34,000 you can only apply for £4,750, but you won't have to give details of your income in the loan application.

If your household income is under £34,000 you may also be eligible for the Young Students' Bursary, which you don’t need to repay. Guide amounts are shown below.

Student finance for young students in Scotland in 2021/22

Household income £0–20,999 £21,000–23,999 £24,000–33,999 £34,000+
You can get a student loan of up to... £5,750 £5,750 £5,750 £4,750
You can get a bursary of... £2,000 £1,125 £500 £0

Independent students

You're an 'independent' student if you’re any of the following: you're over 25, have supported yourself for the past three years (on earnings or benefits), or have no parents to support you. You're also classed as 'independent' if you’re a parent to a child who lives with you most of the time, or if you’re married, in a civil partnership or live with your partner.

You can get a maximum (means-tested) student loan of £6,750. If you have a household income of over £34,000, you’ll only be eligible for the minimum (non-means-tested) loan of £4,750. You won’t need to include details of your household income in the student loan application.

Independent students with a household income of £20,999 or less are also eligible for the Independent Students' Bursary of £1,000, which doesn't need to be repaid. Guide amounts are as follows.

Student finance for independent students in Scotland in 2021/22

Household income £0–20,999 £21,000–23,999 £24,000–33,999 £34,000+
You can get a student loan of up to... £6,750 £6,750 £6,250 £4,750
You can get a bursary of... £1,000 £0 £0 £0

Care-experienced students

For Scottish-resident students, if you've ever been looked after by a UK local authority you may be eligible for a non-means-tested bursary of £8,100. This doesn't need to be repaid. However, you can't also apply for a maintenance loan. Previous higher education may affect the amount you get.

An additional accommodation grant may be available to help with accommodation costs during the summer holiday. This provides up to £105 per week.

Extra funding for university

Support is also available if you meet a particular set of criteria. For example, if you have a disability, are responsible financially for another adult ('adult dependents') or are a lone parent.

If you receive a scholarship or bursary while you study, it won't affect the amount of student loan you can get. You can also work part-time while you study without it counting towards your household income.

If you're studying Nursing or Midwifery at a Scottish university, you'll get funding from the Scottish Government and won't be eligible for a student loan from SAAS.

Studying abroad or on a placement year

If you're on a placement or studying abroad, your tuition fees will be as normal if you're only away for a term or so. If you're away for most of the academic year, you're usually charged less by your home university. How much will depend on whether you're studying in Scotland or elsewhere in the UK. SAAS may pay these fees or give a tuition fee loan.

If you’re studying at a private institution, fees may be higher than the tuition fee loan and you may need to pay the balance yourself.

In Scotland, student loans for living costs don’t depend on where you live while studying. Therefore, if you’re studying abroad for a term or up to a year, you’ll get your usual rate of loan or bursary. If your study abroad is compulsory, you can reclaim some travel costs.

If you’re on an unpaid placement, you’ll get your normal living cost support. If you’re normally eligible for a bursary and you’re on a paid placement, your bursary won’t be paid during that time.

Funding and second degrees

Scottish-resident students can get tuition fee support for some second degrees. Graduates taking an Allied Health Profession course in Scotland can get their tuition fees paid for the first two years, while those on the ScotGEM Medicine degree at St Andrews/Dundee have their tuition fees paid by the Scottish Government.

Nursing and Midwifery may also be possible as a second degree, so long as you've not had a Nursing and Midwifery Student Bursary before. You can see more about healthcare courses on our NHS bursary page.

You could also do a degree in Divinity, if you're a candidate for ministry in a recognised faith. Your tuition fees could be paid by SAAS if, by the end of that course, you've not had more than seven years funding for higher education in total. Full-time PGDE teaching students also receive full funding.

As for a student loan for your living costs, Scotland has no rules on previous study other than you can't be over 60 years old at the start of your course. On the other hand, if you're eligible for a bursary, you'll only get one if SAAS (or another funding body) are paying your tuition fees on a course outlined above.

Applying for a student loan in Scotland

You normally apply to SAAS online.

You can apply for funding from the April before your course is due to start. Apply by the end of June to get your funding in time for the start of your course. You'll need to reapply each year of your course to have your tuition fees and maintenance loan paid by SAAS.

Your living cost loan or bursary is paid into your bank account once you've registered on your course. Payments are monthly if you study in Scotland, or at the start of each term if your course is elsewhere in the UK.

Repaying your student loan

Loan repayments begin the April after you've left your course. You also need to be earning over a certain amount each year. You pay a percentage of your income when you reach the threshold.

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