If you live in Scotland and are studying in Scotland, The Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) will pay your tuition fees provided you meet their eligibility criteria. You need to apply to the SAAS to have your tuition fees paid for you.

If you live in Scotland and are applying to university elsewhere in the UK, you will have to pay up to £9,250 towards your tuition fees. You may choose to take out a tuition fee loan to pay your fees.

This money will be paid directly to the university or college.

How to find out more about repaying your loan

SAAS has more information about the cost of borrowing and repaying your loan.

You can also find advice and tips on MoneySavingExpert.

There are also loans and bursaries from the SAAS to help you with your living costs, for example, these could include travel and/or accommodation.

Loans will need to be paid back, but you do not need to pay back a bursary.

The amount of bursary and student loan you can get will depend on the household income in your permanent home. The money is paid into your bank account.

See Students Awards Agency Scotland for further information on loans and bursaries for living costs.

How much could I get?

Young Students

To be assessed as a Young Student, all of the following criteria must apply to you on the first day of your course:

  • You're under 25 before the start of the academic year
  • you do not have a child of any age dependent on you at the beginning of the academic year
  • you have not supported yourself through work or benefits outside full-time education for any three years before the first day of the first academic year of your course
  • you're not married, in a civil partnership or living with your partner

Independent Students

If you don't meet one or more of the above criteria you will be an independent student. This means your household income is just based on your own income (SAAS only takes into account the student's 'unearned' income) and if you live with a partner, their income too.

If you fall into one of the above categories you should refer to the guidance booklet for more information.

Repaying your loan

Repayments for maintenance loans work in the same way as tuition fee loans.

Repayments start in the April after you graduate or leave your course, but only once you are earning over £27,660 a year.

Your repayments are collected from your salary normally. You can find more information regarding the repayments here.

How to find out more

SAAS has further information on maintenance loans.

You don’t need to pay back a bursary, grant or scholarship.

Most universities have their own bursaries and scholarships. Access to these can depend on your own academic and financial circumstances. You should visit your university website for more details and advice on when to apply.

There is extra help available for:

  • Care leavers or students who are estranged from their parents
  • Students who have dependent children, or who are caring for an adult
  • Disabled students
  • Students who have a low household income.

See Students Awards Agency Scotland for further information on financial support.

Disabled Students Allowances

If you have a disability or a learning difficulty you may be eligible to claim for certain extra expenses that arise because you are on a course.

You will need to be assessed or provide evidence, but there’s money available to pay for:

  • specialist equipment or software
  • a non-medical helper
  • other things that help your studies such as travel, books, or printing.

Disabled Students’ Allowances do not depend on your household income and do not need to be paid back.

Disability Rights UK has factsheets about DSA and other useful information.

SAAS has guidance on the Disabled Students’ Allowances application process.

Care experienced

In addition to the bursaries and grants available to many other students, there are more that are on offer for care leavers. A separate funding package is available for eligible care experienced students. This includes a non-repayable bursary of £8,100 a year and an accommodation grant over the summer holidays.


There are also charities and foundations that can provide support.

Who cares? Scotland is a charity supporting care experienced students in Scotland.

Propel has been set up by Become, the charity for children in care and young care leavers and has a wealth of information around financial support across the UK.

The Unite Foundation works in partnership with 27 universities across the UK and offers bursaries and scholarships. You will need to apply for these and they are not guaranteed.

University or college bursaries

Universities and colleges usually have grants and bursaries for care experienced students, these may include

  • reduced fees for accommodation
  • bursaries.

You can check what you may be entitled to with your chosen university or college.

Estranged students

If you are estranged from your family, your parents’ income is not taken into account for student finance. You can also sometimes get extra help from other sources.

SAAS has Guidance for estranged students

StandAlone is a charity that offers extra support for young people (18–25 year old for student finance) who become estranged from their family.

StandAlone students

Students caring for children or for an adult

You may be able to get help in the form of a grant. This does not have to be paid back and is on top of other student finance.

SAAS has Living Cost Grants for carers and lone parents

Students experiencing financial hardship

Your college or university may give you extra money if you're experiencing financial hardship whilst you study. They will decide if you're eligible and how much you will get. Check with your chosen institution to see if you can apply.

Working while studying

Working while studying can help. You can work part-time while studying, as well as working during summer holidays.

Student finance is provided by Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS). Applications for courses running in the 2024-2025 academic year are now open. See further information and support on the SAAS website.

For help with student finance, further education funding and other aspects of student life, visit Student Information Scotland.

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