Funding for students from Scotland is administered by an agency of the Scottish Government known as SAAS (Student Awards Agency Scotland). SAAS operate an online application process and their website has a lot of really useful information about your entitlement and how you apply for it. Applications open in April and we recommend applying early to ensure your funding is ready for you starting your course.
SAAS will provide funding for taught postgraduate studies up to Masters level as long as you have not already used UK or EU funds to study at this level. ‘Taught’ refers to courses with an element of teaching, so it is possible to get this funding for distance learning courses where there is a taught element. This can include online tutorials, seminars and webinars.
SAAS will also provide the following funding package to eligible students undertaking a Research Masters course at SCQF level 11.
Student funding packages are made up of a tuition fee loan and living costs loan. The tuition fee loan is worth up to £5,500 and the living cost loan is worth £4,500 and is not income-assessed.
The tuition fee loan is worth up to £5,500. This will be paid directly to the University but you are responsible for applying. Should your course fee be lower than this, you should apply to SAAS for a lower amount. Should it be higher than this, you will remain responsible for meeting the additional costs.
The living costs loan is not income-assessed so you do not need to send SAAS any details of your household income. While you will be eligible for £4,500, you can elect to take out less of a student loan if you do not need your full entitlement.
If you are a part-time student undertaking an eligible course you can apply for a tuition fee loan. In order to be eligible for this, you must be completing the course in no longer than twice the length of time it would take to complete if you were a full-time student. For example, if your course is available to full-time students as a 1 year MSc, you will be funded for a maximum of 2 years' part-time study. If it is available to full-time students as a 2 year MSc, you will be funded for a maximum of 4 years' part-time study.
In all cases the fee is split equally across all years of the course, so you do need to plan your studies in advance. You should apply for this in each year study and are not eligible for any living cost support.
The total tuition fee loan, across all years of the course, is worth up to a maximum of £5,500. This will be paid directly to the University but you are responsible for applying. Should your course fee be lower than this, you should apply to SAAS for a lower amount. Should it be higher than this, you will remain responsible for meeting the additional costs.
Remember that your support will be in the form of loans, which need to be paid back. You do not have to take out the student loan, or can elect to take out only a proportion of what you are offered. The student loan is repayable and does accrue interest but it is much cheaper than other types of finance such as bank loans, overdrafts or credit cards.
Find out more about how the student loan works here, Student Loan Advice.