Costs of learning: student funding guide 2019 to 2020

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

Do I qualify?

For some of the sources of funding you need to meet certain residency conditions. This means if you have not lived outside the UK (apart from being away temporarily or occasionally), you are likely to meet the residency conditions. However, if you are not sure whether you meet the residency conditions, we would advise you to contact the college (for Further Education courses) or the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) (for Higher Education courses). If you are a student in Higher Education, you should visit the SAAS website and use their Help and contact us service which is available at or call on 0300 555 0505.

In general, the residency conditions are as follows.

  • You must be ordinarily resident (see definition below) in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for the three years immediately before the first day of the first academic year of the course.
  • You must also be an 'ordinarily resident' (see below) in Scotland on the first day of the first academic year of the course. In Further Education, this will be the date your course starts.
  • In Higher Education, you must be ordinarily resident on the following dates:
    • 1 August 2019 for courses that start between 1 August 2019 and 31 December 2019
    • 1 January 2020 for courses that start between 1 January 2020 and 31 March 2020
    • 1 April 2020 for courses that start between 1 April 2020 and 30 June 2020
    • 1 July 2020 for courses that start between 1 July 2020 and 31 July 2020
  • If you are a not a UK or other EU national, you must also be settled in the UK as set out in the Immigration Act 1971 on the first day of the first academic year of the course. In Further Education, this is the date your course starts, for Higher Education, see the dates above.

There are circumstances where a student can be considered eligible for support although they do not automatically fulfil the ordinary residence requirements, for example, because they or their family have temporarily been studying or working abroad. For a course of Further Education, Colleges are responsible for assessing whether a student fulfils the residence criteria set out in the current Education (Access Funds) Direction & Determination. Students should speak to college Bursary Officers to discuss residency and any student support they may be eligible for. For a course of Higher Education, SAAS will decide if you are eligible to apply to them for support as set out in the Students' Allowances (Scotland) Regulations 2007 (as amended).

What does 'ordinarily resident' mean?

The courts have defined ordinary residence as 'habitual and normal residence in one place'. Basically this means that you live in a country year after year by choice throughout a set period. This allows for times when you are out of the country temporarily or occasionally for things like holidays or business trips, and may cover you if you or someone in your family is temporarily posted abroad by their employer.

In most cases you may not be treated as ordinarily resident in Scotland if your main purpose in coming here is to study and you would normally be living in another country.

Please note there are different rules for;

  • Migrant Workers
  • EU/EEA nationals
  • Swiss nationals and family members of such
  • Dependent child of a Turkish worker
  • Asylum seekers and Refugees
  • Iraqi nationals with Indefinite Leave to enter the UK
  • Syrian nationals with Humanitarian Protection in the UK
  • Afghan Interpreters under the Locally Employed Staff scheme
  • Stateless Persons
  • People Granted Discretionary Leave as a victim of modern slavery

You can find more information on residency from the SAAS website at



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