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Postgraduate Student Loans in Scotland

If you live in Scotland and are looking study beyond undergraduate level, read on for the complete guide to the country's postgraduate loans:

How do I apply, and how much can I get?

How do I apply for a postgraduate loan?

The Scottish postgraduate loan will be introduced for the 2017–18 academic year. Applications are made through SAAS.

How much can I get?

Scottish students will be entitled to a maximum postgraduate loan of £10,000, formed of two components:

  • Tuition fees support of up to £5,500, which will be paid directly to your university. If your fees are below this amount, your university will receive the appropriate amount. If your fees are above £5,500, you will need to make up the difference yourself.
  • Living costs support of up to £4,500, paid to you. You can borrow less than £4,500 if you feel you don’t need the full amount.

If your tuition costs more than £5,500, you can in theory use some of your living costs loan to make up the difference. This money is yours to use as you see fit. However as it is a living costs loan, it’s important to make sure that you always have enough money to live on. You should also bear in mind that your living costs loan may not be paid concurrently with the dates on which fees need to be paid, so you may not always have the loan to help pay the remaining fees.

Postgraduate loans in Scotland will be non-means-tested, meaning that you will be able to apply for the full amount, regardless of your financial background.

If you study a part-time course, your loan will be paid on a pro-rata basis, meaning the full amount will be split according to the number of years of study. For example, if you request a loan of £10,000, and are studying a part-time course over two years, you will receive a total of £5,000 in each year of study.

What are the repayments like?

Repayments for Scottish postgraduate loans will use the same system as the current undergraduate system, and if you already have a Scottish undergraduate loan, the two debts will be combined and paid off via one payment each month.

In accordance with the undergraduate repayment system, the amount that you need to pay back each month will be determined by your income. You will repay 9% of all income over £17,945, with interest also charged and set according to the Retail Prices Index (RPI).

You will make your first repayment in the April after you graduate from your course, and you will still need to repay any borrowed money even if you choose not to complete a course.

Calton Hill , Edinburgh , Scotland

Eligibility

Personal criteria

To be eligible for a postgraduate loan, you must:

  • Be aged under 60 on the first day of the academic year of your course (usually 1 August 2017).
  • Have lived in the UK for three years and be ordinarily resident in Scotland at the beginning of your course. To clarify, ‘ordinarily resident’ means that your home address is in Scotland, and that you live there normally (i.e. not solely for the purposes of study).

If you’re from England, Northern Ireland or Wales and have been residing in Scotland to study an undergraduate degree, this will not count as being ordinarily resident in the country. However, if you have completed a degree in Scotland and then remained there for work, this may count as being ordinarily resident.

Similarly, if you’re from Scotland but have been studying for an undergraduate degree elsewhere in the UK, this will not affect your eligibility as long as you have been ordinarily resident in Scotland. However, if you have completed an undergraduate degree elsewhere in the UK and remained outside of Scotland for work, this may count as being ordinarily resident outside of Scotland.

If you’re unsure about your residency status, you should contact your chosen university or the SAAS.

Course-based criteria

In addition to the above personal criteria, your course must meet the following requirements:

  • It must be a taught course; research degrees are not covered by the programme. There may be some exceptions to this – for example, a university may classify an MRes (Masters of Research) as a taught degree – so if you are unsure, you should check with your chosen university or the SAAS.
  • It can be full- or part-time.
  • It must be a course offered by a Scottish university. If a course is unavailable in Scotland, a programme at another UK university may be eligible.
  • Unlike in England and Wales, your programme does not need to be of Masters level to be eligible. Students of all taught courses up to Masters level (such as the Postgraduate Diploma) will be able to apply for a postgraduate loan.

What about EU students?

Support for EU postgraduate students for 2017–18 has been confirmed across the UK, and Scotland is no exception. However, EU students will only be able to apply for the tuition-fee loan, for an amount up to £5,500.

Brexit is not set to have any immediate impact on funding, with England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales all confirming that EU students starting a degree in 2017 will be eligible.