More money going to more students from SAAS

£981.5 million worth of support given to 178,810 students.

The number and value of bursaries and grants awarded to students in Scotland, including to young people with disabilities or from deprived areas, has increased since last year.

The value of bursaries and grants to full-time students rose 5.3% to £80.3 million. Supported students from the most-deprived areas of the country were three times more likely to receive one than those from the least deprived areas. The number of full-time students who received a Disabled Students’ Allowance increased 5.2%, with the average pay out £1,990.

Over the academic year 2018-19, £981.5 million worth of support from the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) was given to 178,810 students - an annual increase of 1.4%, which works out at an average award of £5,490 per individual.

Coming just months after universities announced ground-breaking plans to guarantee a place to student applicants with care experience, the figures also show there were 840 full-time undergraduates in receipt of non-repayable Care-Experienced Bursaries of £8,100 (up from 545 the previous year) worth a total of £6.4 million, a 67% annual rise.

Further and Higher Education Minister Richard Lochhead said:

“These annual rises once again underline this Government’s strong levels of financial support to domestic and EU students, regardless of their background.

“It’s very encouraging to see the level of bursaries and grants rising so significantly. We have seen other increases right across the board, with students from the most deprived areas of Scotland also receiving more per head than those from the least deprived.

“And with 10% of all our students now coming from the EU, there was also a 0.5% rise in the number of those receiving financial support, with the average award £2,100.”

Summary of key findings 2018-19

• 178,810 students received £981.5 million of support at an average of £5,490 per student;
• 148,890 full-time students were supported: an increase of 0.7% since 2017-18. The total amount paid out increased by 1.3% to £894.3 million in 2018-19
• the number of full-time students receiving non-repayable bursaries and grants increased by 1.7%
• the amount of support provided to full-time students increased by 5.3%; 54,550 received £80.3 million support in 2018-19 (compared to 53,620 and £76.3 million in 2017-18)
• there were 15,310 European Union (EU) full-time students supported in 2018-19, which is 10.3% of the total number of students supported by SAAS (10.3% in 2017-18). They received a total of £32.1 million in support, which is 3.6% of the total support paid or authorised by SAAS to full-time students
• in 2018-19, there were 840 full-time undergraduate students in receipt of a non-repayable Care Experienced Bursary, increased from 545 in 2017-18. Moreover, there was a 67% increase in the amount of support provided


The full statistical publication and background documentation is available at:

This publication contains the main statistical findings on students who received financial support from the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) in the 2018-19 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 are responsible for administering the loans.

Information on all aspects of student support provided by SAAS can be found at:

The Student Loans Company website provides more information on student loans for Higher Education


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