Student financial support in Scotland: independent review

Recommendations for improving the higher and further education student support system.

Appendix A: Key facts and figures

Higher education

Higher education refers to undergraduate level education, including Higher National Certificate ( HNC) and Higher National Diploma ( HND). Courses are taught at universities and colleges and can be full-time or part-time. Courses are typically four-year degrees, with some shorter courses offered. For the purpose of the review, post-graduates are not in scope.


  • There are 228,740 undergraduate enrolments in higher education.
  • 177,500 are full-time students and 51,240 part-time students.

Further education

Further education includes any study after secondary education that is not part of higher education (that is, not taken as part of an HNC, HND or undergraduate degree). Courses are taught at colleges and can be full-time or part-time. Courses can vary in length from a few weeks to a full academic year.


  • There are 231,153 enrolments in further education.
  • The majority of these are in part-time courses (185,129), with 46,024 enrolled in full-time courses.

Higher education

Financial support is consistent across all students in higher education. The level of support available and the mix between bursary and loan depends on household income:

Delivery: Financial support is administered through the Student Awards Agency Scotland ( SAAS), although practically the loans are delivered through the Student Loans Company.

Student advice: Advice and guidance is delivered through a number of sources, including SAAS, Money Advice Scotland and Young Scot.

Other: In addition to the above, most universities have their own discretionary bursaries and scholarships. Access to these can depend on the academic and financial circumstances of students. Further support may also be available through Educational Trusts.

Household Young Students
(Dependent Students)
Independent Students
Income Bursary Loan Total Bursary Loan Total
£0 to £18,999 £1,875 £5,750 £7,625 £875 £6,750 £7,625
£19,000 to £23,999 £1,125 £5,750 £6,875 £0 £6,750 £6,750
£24,000 to £33,999 £500 £5,750 £6,250 £0 £6,250 £6,250
£34,000 and above £0 £4,750 £4,750 £0 £4,750 £4,750

Further education

Financial support available for students in further education can vary depending on where students undertake their studies.

Delivery: Financial support is administered through colleges, following a distribution from the Scottish Funding Council ( SFC). National guidelines exist for distribution, but are not followed consistently across Scotland.

Student advice: Advice and guidance is delivered locally, as well as via the third sector.

Age Type Household Income is less than: Living with your Parents Living away from home Supporting Yourself
16-17 EMA £24,421 (£26,884 if more than one child) £30pw £38.69pw
based on 41 weeks: £1,230 £1,586
18-24 Bursary £24,275 £77.01 £97.33 £97.33
based on 41 weeks: £3,157 £3,991 £3,991
25+ Bursary £20,643 £97.33 N/A £97.33
based on 41 weeks: £3,991 N/A £3,991


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