Costs of learning: student funding guide 2019 to 2020

Funding guide for learners and students including those going to college or university.

What's on offer?

The financial support you get will depend on different things such as:

  • what course you want to study;
  • your income and family circumstances;
  • how old you are;
  • where you want to study; and
  • whether you want to study full-time, part-time or by distance learning (see below).

Distance learning is where the learner works on their own, at home or at work, and communicates with teachers and other learners by e-mail or using the internet.

Some funding comes as a grant, some as a loan and some in the form of free course fees. In most cases your income is assessed to see what you are entitled to and there is different support depending on the type of course you want to do.

Higher Education (HE) is courses of study which are at Higher National Certificate level or above (that is Scottish Credit and Qualification Framework level 7 or above). You can take them at college or at university and they include:

  • an undergraduate honours degree;
  • an undergraduate ordinary degree; or
  • a Higher National Certificate (HNC) or Higher National Diploma (HND);
  • a certificate of Higher Education (Cert HE) or Diploma of Higher Education (Dip HE)

Financial support for Higher Education usually comes as a loan, with a number of income-assessed grants (grants based on your income) for specific groups of students and bursaries for those from a low-income household.

Further Education (FE) is courses which are not taught in a school and are below Higher National Certificate (HNC) level. They cover levels 1 to 6 on the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) and include:

  • academic courses up to Higher level;
  • courses that do not lead to formal qualifications (such as courses on independent living skills);
  • courses on basic skills (such as reading, writing and number skills); and
  • work-related courses, such as Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs).

You may be able to get support for Further Education (in the form of a bursary or an Education Maintenance Allowance) by having an assessment, but not everyone who applies is eligible for these funds.

See our ‘quick guide’ to find out what’s available.

This is a general guide and only shows the funding that you may receive.

Contracted training provision - is training that is bought in, either by Skills Development Scotland or DWP/Jobcentre Plus (in the case of, for example, Work Able).



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