Higher Education Student Support for Scotland 2019-2020

A National Statistics Publication for Scotland.

Scotland’s Chief Statistician today published statistics on Higher Education Student Support in Scotland 2019-2020. These statistics have been prepared two months earlier than in previous years, making the data available for public consumption earlier. Figures from previous years have been adjusted where possible to provide numbers at the equivalent time, therefore making the figures directly comparable.

The latest figures show a small drop in the number of students supported by the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) for those studying in Higher Education in the 2019-2020 academic session compared to the 2018-2019 academic session. However, the amount of funding provided has increased to £1.009 billion.

Other key findings include:

  • There were 148,570 full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students supported through SAAS in the form of bursary, grant, fees or loans. This is a decrease of 0.2 per cent from 148,855 in 2018-2019
  • The total amount of support for full-time students was £912.7 million, an increase of 2.1 per cent from £894.2 million in 2018-2019
  • The average support provided per full-time student was £6,140 – an increase from £6,010 in 2018-2019
  • The total amount provided in non-repayable bursaries and grants for full-time students increased by 13.4 per cent, from £80.2 million in 2018-2019 to £90.9 million in 2019-2020 – awarded to 54,190 students (down from 54,480 in 2018-2019)
  • The total amount authorised in living cost loans was £540.1 million, a 6.3% increase from £533.8 million in 2018-2019, at an average of £5,320 per student
  • There were 15,235 European Union (EU) students supported in 2019-2020 (10.3 per cent of all students supported) who received £32.1 million of funding - 3.5 per cent of the total amount of support given to all students

A further 20,030 students were provided fee support whilst studying on a part-time basis in 2019-2020. The total amount of support was £16.8 million at an average of £840 per student. This is a decrease of around 700 students (from 20,740) and from an average of £830 per student, compared to 2018-2019.

SAAS also administer support for students undertaking courses in pre-registration nursing and midwifery leading to the award of a degree. In 2019-2020 there were 9,580 students receiving support through the Nursing and Midwifery Bursary (NMSB) scheme – compared to 9,180 in 2018-2019. These students received £79.5 million in support at an average of £8,300 per student.

The figures released today were produced in accordance with professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.


 The full statistical publication and background documentation is available at: https://www.saas.gov.uk/about-saas/national-statistics-publications

This publication contains the main statistical findings on students who received financial support from the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) in the 2019-2020 academic session. SAAS provide support to Scottish domiciled Higher Education students studying throughout the United Kingdom (UK), and to some outside the UK, as well as European Union (EU) students studying in Scotland. These courses are at Higher National Certificate (HNC) level and above. These can be taken either at college or at university, and include those studying for certain postgraduate qualifications.

Financial support covers non-repayable bursaries and grants paid to students, the payment of tuition fees or provision of fee loans, and the authorisation for living cost loans. The Student Loans Company (SLC) are responsible for administering the loans.

Information on all aspects of student support provided by SAAS can be found at: www.saas.gov.uk.

The SLC website provides more information on student loans for Higher Education: www.slc.co.uk.

Information on student finance for both further and higher education students can be found at: www.studentinformation.gov.scot

Official statistics are produced in accordance with professional standards  – more information on the standards of official statistics in Scotland can be accessed at: www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/About

*Updated 26/08/20 - Bursaries and grants increased by 13.4%. The original news release had this as 10.8%.*



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