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Financing your studies

University tuition fees and financial support in Scotland

An overview of the university tuition fees and funding available for students from Scotland.

Royal Mile, Edinburgh, Scotland


Tuition fee loans and financial support

This page outlines what’s available for students from Scotland for 2020–21 entry. Check to find the exact dates, cost of fees and financial support available on university and student funding websites.

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 eligibility for details.

If you’re going to university in Scotland

If you attend university in Scotland, you can be charged up to £1,820 per year for tuition. The Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) will pay this in full if you’re eligible. You need to apply to SAAS for this, and must reapply every year of your course. If you’re going to a private university in Scotland you’ll only get £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

At English and Northern Irish universities, you can be charged up to £9,250 per year for 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 don’t have to pay tuition fees upfront.

You need to apply online to SAAS (and reapply every year) for a loan to help with your fees. Loans are up to £9,250 (or £11,100 for an accelerated degree). If you’re heading to an 'alternative provider' institution, 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.

All students

You can apply for funding from the April before your course is due to start. To get funding in time for the start of your course, you should apply by the end of June, ensuring your application form is correctly completed. The final deadline is the end of March the following year.

In 2020–21, Scottish students can also get some financial support if attending certain institutions in the Republic of Ireland or five universities in Europe: University of Southern Denmark, Malmo University in Sweden, Rhein Waal University in Germany, and University of Groningen and Maastricht University in the Netherlands.

Funding your living costs

Loans are available from SAAS if you’re from Scotland and studying a full-time course (excluding Nursing or Midwifery at a Scottish university). You must reapply to SAAS every year of your course. Unlike maintenance loans elsewhere in the UK, there's no weighting for where you live while you study, which means no additional support if you wish to study in London or live away from home.

If a compulsory study abroad placement is part of your course, you get the same amount of maintenance loan as you would in the UK. However, if you’re eligible for a bursary (see below) and have a paid placement, the bursary will cease for the duration of the placement.

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.

The loan can be a maximum of £5,750 (means-tested) and a minimum (non-means-tested) 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. You’ll have to pay the loan back.

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.

Household income £0–20,999 £21,000–23,999 £24,000–33,999 £34,000+
You can get a 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) 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, and won’t need to include details of household income in the loan application. You’ll have to pay the loan back in due course.

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 in the table below.

Household income £0–20,999 £21,000–23,999 £24,000–33,999 £34,000+
You can get a 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.

All students

The 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. You can only apply for a loan once in each academic year, so if you’re applying for living cost support you should submit this at the same time as applying for a tuition fee loan.

Extra funding

Extra support may be 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.

Repaying your 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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