Learning and training help you develop the skills you need for work. But courses aren’t always free – so who can help you pay for it?
There are lots of funding options. It may be a grant or a loan. You could cover your course fees or get help with childcare or other support.
In most cases, your income will be assessed to see what funding support you can get. Different types are available depending on what kind of course you’re interested in.
Planning to study full-time? The funding available depends on whether you're going into further, or higher education.
If you're going to college to study a further education course, like National 4 or 5, Highers, National certificates and National Qualifications, then funding might be available through the college.
The level of funding, and whether you're eligible for it, depends on your circumstances. The best thing to do is contact your college and speak to the funding office. They'll be able to give you advice on what's available and how to apply.
If you're aged 16-19, you may be eligible for an Educational Maintenance Allowance.
For higher education, The Student Awards Agency Scotland provides funding, including tuition fees, bursaries and loans. Check if you meet their eligibility criteria, and if your course is covered.
You need to apply to SAAS in each year of your course. There's lots of helpful information on their website:
- Undergraduate funding, including HNC, HND, degree, PGDE or equivalent courses
- Funding for nursing and midwifery courses
- Postgraduate funding
- Forms and guides for full-time students
- The Funding guide 2019-20 goes in to more detail about all of the funding SAAS offers, and eligibility. You can find out about the Young Students' Bursary and the student loan for living costs
Other sources of funding
- SAAS has a guide to other sources of funding, from bursary support and discretionary funds, to childcare funds, tax credits and scholarships
Funding for part-time students works slightly differently.
For higher education, you may be able to apply for a part-time fee grant from SAAS, towards the cost of your tuition fees for an undergraduate course, or for a tuition fee loan if you're looking at eligible postgraduate courses. Find out more on the SAAS website:
- Undergraduate funding, including degree courses, HNC and HND
- Postgraduate funding
For part-time further education students, studying for National 4 or 5, Highers, National Certificates and National Qualifications, then funding may also be available. You should get in touch with the funding office at the college.
Extra hardship payments for students
The Scottish Government has put a package of financial support in place to help students who are facing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19. Visit Student Information Scotland for the latest updates.
Support for parents
If you’re a parent who's studying, you might be eligible for additional financial support.
Parents in higher education:
- Lone Parents’ Grant. This is for widowed, divorced, separated or single students bringing up at least one child. It is a means-tested grant of up to £1,305 a year
- Lone Parents' Childcare grant. Students who are eligible for the Lone Parents' grant might also be eligible for this grant, a maximum £1,215 a year
- The Higher Education Discretionary Childcare fund. This is open to all student parents. It’s provided by the college or university to meet the costs of formal or registered childcare. For more information, contact your college or university
Parents in further education:
- The Further Education Childcare Fund. This is prioritised for lone parents, part-time students and mature students. Other students can also apply. It is a discretionary fund, administered by individual colleges. For more details speak to your college
- The Child Tax Credit. This can be claimed by students who are responsible for at least one child. It is a means-tested allowance that is paid to parents and carers of children or some young people who are still in education. For more information contact the Inland Revenue tax credit helpline on 0845 300 3900
Parents supporting a child who is studying
SAAS has a helpful guide for parents whose children are studying.
Care leavers and carers
Whether you're studying for an HNC, HND or degree, there's a new care experienced bursary designed to support students up to the age of 26 - providing up to £8100 per year to support studies and training. There's a Vacation Grant which helps pay accommodation costs during the summer holidays. You can find more information in the SASS guide for care experienced students. There's also a bursary for full-time further education courses, which offers £202.50 per week and supports students of up to age 26.
Propel is a useful resource with information about what support different colleges and universities provide for care leavers. It could help you decide where to go and find out about the support you're entitled to.
If you are a carer of an adult who is financially dependent on you, you may be eligible for a Dependants' grant of up to £2,640 a year.
Studying elsewhere in the UK
If you're not studying in Scotland, you will have to pay your own tuition fees. You can apply to SAAS to take out a student loan to pay all or some of your fees. Find out more in the SAAS funding guide.
If you're interested in studying abroad, you may be eligible for funding.
Find out about international opportunities and funding through:
- The European Funding Guide
- Erasmus programme for study in Europe
- British Council funding. British Council can provide funding for study or placements within a college or university course, which covers travel, accommodation and expenses. This can include Erasmus+ for study visits mainly in Europe, or IASTE for engineering students. Your college or university can provide more details
- The Fulbright Commission for post-graduate study in the USA