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Financial support for students

We believe education should be based on the ability to learn, not to pay, and are providing record levels of support for students in higher and further education.

Support for higher education students

We are protecting free tuition and are also committed to providing an annual minimum income for the least well-off students in higher education (£7,625 in 2017 to 2018).

Scottish domiciled students studying at a Scottish university are entitled to apply for a package of bursary and loan support, based on household income.

Support includes:

  • a full bursary (£7,625 in 2017 to 2018) for students under 26 with care experience
  • a non-income assessed student loan of £4,750 a year for all students
  • up to £10,000 extended support for postgraduate students for any taught course up to full masters level
  • continued support for disabled students through the Disabled Student Allowance (DSA)

In addition, we are working to raise the repayment threshold for student loans so that, by the end of the Parliament, graduates do not start to repay loan debt until they are earning £22,000 per year and the repayment period is reduced to 30 years.

Further information is available at the Scottish Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) which adminisers higher education student funding.

Support for further education students

We are providing record levels of support to further education students.

In 2016 to 2017 we are investing over £106 million through the Scottish Funding Council in college bursaries, childcare and discretionary (hardship) funds, a real-terms increase of 34% since 2006 to 2007.

Students attending college at further education level can receive a non-repayable bursary of up to £95.94 per week.

We also offer Education Maintenance Allowances (EMAs) to young people from low income families to help them stay on in post-16 education either at school or college.

For information on student funding see: Costs of learning: student funding guide 2017 to 2018

Independent review of student support

In 2017 we commissioned an independent review into the student support system for further and higher education, to make it less complex and easier to understand.

The review group was independently chaired by Jayne-Anne Gadhia, CEO Virgin Money, and published its final report on 20 November 2017.

As part of the process, the review group published a consultation paper asking for ideas for improving how students access, receive, manage and understand the support they receive, as well as surveying more than 3,500 students and holding a number of focus groups across Scotland.

The results of these and other evidence gathering exercises the group carried out have been published alongside the final report.

The independent review was announced in our Programme for Government 2016 to 2017.

Archive content

To access information that was on the previous website see the archive of universities and colleges content.