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How do I apply for higher education funding in Scotland?

By David Malcolm

Monday 18 March 2013 Higher education

If you’re eligible to get funding for higher education from the Scottish government, you apply for it online through the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS). You apply in a different way depending on whether you’re taking a full- or part-time course.

The following details tell you how to apply for funding from SAAS. If you want to apply for a bursary to study medicine, dentistry, healthcare or social work, the application process may be different. See:

When should I apply for funding for a full-time course?

If you’re a full-time student (either undergraduate or equivalent level or postgraduate) you apply for funding each year throughout the length of your course, and from the start of the 2013/2014 academic year you can apply for one extra year if you need it to complete your course.

If you’re a new full-time student you can apply from April of the year in which you want to study. You should apply as soon as possible. Don’t wait until you’ve got your exam results or a confirmed place on a course before applying – when you apply for funding just quote the course that you think you’re most likely to attend. If your course changes after you apply, tell SAAS straight away.

Apply before the end of June before your course starts to make sure you get your funding by the start of term. The final deadline for applications depends on when you start your course, but for most students who start a course in the autumn term, the closing date is 31 March 2014 for the 2013/2014 academic year.

If you’re studying for a nursing or midwifery qualification in Scotland, apply as soon as you get a letter of acceptance from your college or university. If you’re in your second or later year, apply at least six weeks before the payment is due.

When should I apply for funding for a part-time course?

If you’re a part-time student you apply for funding each year throughout the length of your course, and from the beginning of the 2013/2014 academic year, you can apply for one extra year if you need it to complete your course.

Whether you’re a new or continuing student you must make sure that SAAS receives your application no later than one month after your course starts. The deadline for applications for the 2013/2014 academic year is 31 July 2014.

What’s the application process for full-time undergraduate (or equivalent) students?

If you’re a full-time undergraduate or equivalent level student, or you’re taking a postgraduate course for which you get the undergraduate package of support, you apply as follows.

The first time you apply, you set up a student finance account. Then, and each year afterwards, you complete an online application form. You may be asked to send evidence (eg proof of your identity or household income). Make sure you send all the requested information by the specified deadlines, so that you receive the first instalment of the support you’re entitled to at the start of the course.

SAAS assesses what funding you’re entitled to, and sends you an award notice to confirm what will be paid to you and when. If you’re getting a loan, SAAS informs the Student Loans Company what you’re entitled to, and you get a payment schedule letter from the Student Loans Company.

For more details, see SAAS’s information about the application process and closing dates. You can also set up your student finance account.

What’s the application process for part-time and postgraduate students?

If you’re a part-time student, or you’re taking a full- or part-time postgraduate course for which you can’t get the undergraduate package of support, you apply a follows.

Each year you complete an application form, and you may need to complete certification of income forms as well. Sign and send the forms to SAAS for assessment of the support you’re entitled to. SAAS then writes to you to let you know what funding you’re getting.

You can download all the forms you need, plus guidance for completing them, from SAAS’s website. See the information for part-time students and postgraduate students.

Related topics

What higher education funding is available in Scotland?

Can I get higher education funding in the UK?

This information was updated in March 2013. NUS provides this information in good faith and has taken care to make sure it’s accurate. However, student finance issues can be complicated, and rules change frequently. You should contact the advice centre in your students' union, college or university for support if you’re uncertain or need more help.