Student Finance

It's a good idea to think about the costs involved in higher education. The good news is that in Scotland your tuition fees are paid for and there's money available to help support you during your studies.


How much does it cost to go to college or university?

As a Scottish school leaver, if you go to college or university in Scotland you won’t need to pay any tuition fees. The Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) will pay the cost of your course in full. You just need to complete an application form through the SAAS website before you begin your course.

That means your only expenses will be living costs such as accommodation (if you move away from home), food, and travel.

However, if you decide to study elsewhere in the UK or abroad, you will have to pay the tuition fees set by the university or college. These could be up to £9000 per year so most people apply for a loan to help cover the cost. 

Can I get help with my living expenses?

Although you don’t need to pay fees in Scotland, you might need some help to cover your living expenses, especially if you are moving into student accommodation. SAAS offers two possible sources of funding: 


SAAS provides some extra money to students who come from a household with a low income. This payment is called a bursary and, unlike a loan, does not need to be paid back. SAAS bursaries range from £500 to £1750 depending on your household income. There’s a chance you could also be eligible for a bursary from the college or university you’re applying to. Check their website or get in touch with them.


Most students apply to SAAS for a student loan to help cover their living expenses. Every student, regardless of their household income, is able to apply for a loan of up to £4750 a year. Although you are required to pay back student loans, you don’t need to start paying until you have completed your course and are working in a job that pays more than £16,910 a year.

Note: If you're applying to SAAS for a loan, you must do so by June 30th in order to ensure that you receive your first payment at the start of your course in August/September. 

How much does student accommodation cost?

If you are moving out of home, the costs of student accommodation will vary depending on the institution you are studying at and the type of accommodation you choose to stay in. The least expensive option is usually to stay in student halls. Rooms (including electricity, heating etc.) are likely to cost around £100 a week. Choosing a room in a private flat or in a shared apartment with more facilities is likely to cost a bit more. Have a look at our advice on Moving Out for more details. 

Can I get a part-time job while I'm studying?

Yes you can. Many students choose to do so. Remember though that you’ll have to make sure that it doesn’t interfere with your classes or with your preparation for coursework and exams. 

Will I receive SAAS funding for every year of my studies, even if I move on to university after completing a college course first?

Yes. Many people complete an HNC or HND at college before moving into the second or third year of a university degree. (See Progression Routes.) In this instance, SAAS will pay your tuition fees for an extra year to ensure you are funded for each year of your studies.

More info:

  • Download Edinburgh University's excellent new guide to Student Finance.
  • Check out the SAAS Funding Guide for clear details about the money that may be available to you and how to apply for it.