Student Finance

Home | School Students | Student Finance

Student Finance

Tuition fees

Scottish students studying in Scotland full time for a first degree, or equivalent, are not required to pay tuition fees. This means that you will not need to take out a student loan to cover the cost of any of your tuition for your time at college or university. However, you still have to apply to SAAS (Student Awards Agency for Scotland) to have your tuition fees paid every year and you can find further information here.


Living costs - SAAS loans, bursaries & grants

Though you won’t have tuition fees to pay, you might still need to think about how you will cover your living costs whilst you are a college or university student – accommodation, food, transportation, study materials etc! You could apply for a bursary and a loan though SAAS to help with these costs. The amount you can receive depends on your household income, find out more here.

​​What is a SAAS student bursary?

You may apply for money in the form of a bursary, to help with your costs whilst you are studying. If your family income is below £34,000, you can receive bursary support of up to £2000 a year (depending on the income level of your family) from SAAS. The bursary is paid monthly and it is up to you what to spend it on. You do not have to pay a bursary back.

​What is a SAAS student loan?

You can apply to borrow money in the form of a loan to help you with your costs whilst you are studying. Depending on family income, students can borrow between £8,400 to £9,400 per academic year. The loan is paid monthly and it is up to you what you spend it on. The important thing to remember is that it’s up to you to decide how much you want to borrow. For example, you might decide that you want to take a loan for your travel costs only and so you can decide on the amount. If you apply for a loan, you will have to repay it. You can find out more about student loan repayments here.

What is a SAAS grant?

Some students may be able to apply for a living cost grant. People who may be eligible to receive a grant are lone parents, carers, part-time students and care-experienced students. (Find out more on our blog post for care experienced students here and our blog post for young and student carers here.)

Paramedic, nursing & midwifery students

Information on funding arrangements for paramedic, nursing and midwifery students can be found here.

SAAS bursary and loan payment options

When applying to SAAS for your funding, you can choose whether to receive your payments over term time (usually 9 months), or over the full year. More information here.

Whichever payment method you choose, this will be the one for all your student funding from SAAS (such as loans, bursaries and grants). 

If you choose to have your payments over the full year, the total amount of funding you are entitled to will not change. However, your monthly payments will be lower as the payments will be spread over the year rather than term time.

Having your payments spread over the full year may help you budget for the year without the gap in SAAS payments over the summer (which you would have with the term time payment option).


Studying elsewhere in the UK

If you choose to study in England, Northern Ireland or Wales, you’ll have to pay the full tuition fees. The exact figure will vary depending on your chosen university. To help you pay this, you can apply for a non income-assessed loan via SAAS. The loan system to help with living costs works in exactly the same way as it would if you choose to go to university in Scotland.


College and university scholarships and other sources of funding

​In certain cases, you may also be eligible for extra funding in the form of bursaries or scholarships – these are financial awards that do not have to be paid back. These are available from lots of different organisations, including universities and educational trusts.

Often, applicants need to meet particular criteria to be eligible (for example, study a specific subject, have a connection to certain area or family name) but it is definitely worth looking into them – you never know what you might be able to apply for!

We've put together some useful links below to help you begin your search.


Support for care experienced students, estranged students or young and student carers

If you are a care experienced student, an estranged student or a young or student carer, there may be specific funding that you are eligible for. Find out more on our blog post for care experienced students here, our blog post for estranged students here, and our blog post for young and student carers here.


Studying part-time

Financial support is also available for Scottish students studying part-time in Scotland, find out more about that on the SAAS website here.


Useful links

For tuition fees and student loans:


Student Awards Agency for Scotland

SAAS is an agency of the Scottish Government giving financial support to eligible students doing a course of higher education in the UK.


Student Loans Company

Student Loans Company is a non-profit making, government-owned, organisation set up to provide loans and grants to students in universities and colleges in the UK.


Bursary advice from Scottish universities:

University of Aberdeen

Abertay  University  

University of Dundee    

University of Edinburgh

Edinburgh Napier University

University of Glasgow

Glasgow Caledonian University

Glasgow School of Art

Heriot-Watt University

University of the Highlands and Islands

Queen Margaret University

Robert Gordon University

Royal Conservatoire Scotland

Scotland's Rural College

University of St Andrews

University of Stirling

University of Strathclyde

University of the West of Scotland

Funding advice from Scottish colleges:

Borders College

Edinburgh College

Fife College

Forth Valley College

Glasgow Clyde College

South Lanarkshire Council

West College Scotland

West Lothian College

Other options to explore:

SAAS Register of Education Endowments

The Buttle Trust


Uni Grants UK

Spend some time searching on university and college websites to see what financial support might be available.