Students across Scotland are now going to university as the new semester kicks off in September.

However, something that can sometimes be neglected by new students is the range of financial support available to those taking on tertiary education.

One piece of support most are aware of is the payment of tuition fees by the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) but there is a lot more out there available to help students.

Who is eligible for free tuition in Scottish universities?

According to Student Information Scotland, those who can have their tuition fees paid for must be a UK national or have 'settled status' with no restrictions on how long they can stay.

They must also be normally living in Scotland on the course start date and have lived in the UK for more than three years.

EU students can find out more about the conditions they must meet by visiting the SAAS website.

What financial support is available to university students in Scotland?

The Scottish Government website states that there are a number of financial supports available to higher education students in Scotland. These are as follows:

  • Non-income assessed student loan of £5,100 a year for all students 
  • £8,100 bursary for care-experienced students.
  • Loan of up to £10,000 (£5,500 for fees and £4,500 for living costs) for any taught or research postgraduate courses at any Scottish HEI up to Masters level.
  • Disabled Student Allowance (DSA).
  • Living costs grants for students such as lone parents and those with dependants.
  • MyGov.Scot also states that there are means-tested loans of up to £7000 for young students on household incomes of under £33,999. Those earning over £34,000 may only apply for a loan of £6000. It also says that those earning under £34,000 can get a Young Students' Bursary.
  • Independent students with an income under £20,999 may receive a £1000 bursary and an £8000 loan. Those over £21,000 a year are not eligible for a bursary but may receive varying loans.

Students who require additional finance on top of this can also apply for Discretionary Funds.

Find out more and apply on the SAAS website.

When do I have to start paying back university loans in Scotland?

SAAS states that the salary threshold to start paying back a SAAS loan is currently £27,660 a year. This is taken from your wages.

It also says that if you are above that threshold and are not making student loan payments you must speak with your employer.

If your salary falls below this, the payments will stop.