Cost of living support

Financial lifeline for students.

Students facing financial hardship due to the cost of living crisis and rising energy costs can apply for more support.

This week more than £5 million has been distributed to help Higher Education students in financial hardship with basics like heating and other household costs. This is part of a £37 million hardship funding provided by the Scottish Government since June 2021.

The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) will meet colleges’ Further Education student support funding requirements, and have also provided a further £6 million for financial support for FE students, in this academic year.

Higher and Further Education Minister Jamie Hepburn has written to college and university principals, asking them to encourage students most in need to apply and to prioritise allocation of funding.

To further support students, Mr Hepburn has announced:

  • a £350 loan uplift for 2022-23 in higher education. This means that the most disadvantaged students can access £8,100 per year through bursary and loan
  • the introduction of a new 12 monthly payment option in 2022-23 for higher education students receiving the Care Experienced Bursary, so support is also available over the summer months

Mr Hepburn said:

“Many students are facing higher energy bills and increased financial hardship as a result of the cost of living crisis.

“I have written to university and college principals asking them to ensure that discretionary funds remain accessible for students most in need and that in distributing funds, they should take account of the impact rising energy prices will be having on students, particularly those in private rented accommodation.

“I have also asked them to add students facing rising energy bills to the priority groups so they can access the funds. Students can also apply for support through the Fuel Insecurity Fund, which is distributed through third sector organisations.”


An instalment of £5.2 million has been issued to the sector from the 2021-22 Higher Education Discretionary Funds. At the most recent analysis of funds earlier this year, around £15 million of funds remain from the first instalment of the HE Discretionary Fund and the Coronavirus Fund, issued at the start of the academic year. 

The SFC notified colleges last week as part of the in-year redistribution (IYR) of FE student support funds that colleges demands for funds for the remainder of Academic Year 2021/22 will be met in full.  In addition, SFC are repurposing student support funds that were unspent in 2020-21 to give a further allocation of £6.375 million to colleges in AY 2021-22.  This ensures that discretionary fund support also remains available for FE students experiencing hardship.

Further information on the funds can be found at:

Extra financial support for students (discretionary funding) (  

Discretionary Fund and Coronavirus Fund - SAAS

Support through the Fuel Insecurity Fund is distributed through the Fuel Bank Foundation, Advice Direct Scotland and the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations.


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