Studying abroad or on a placement year

Independent students

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You’re an ‘independent’ student if you’re any of the following: you’re over 25, have supported yourself for the past three years (on earnings or benefits), or have no parents to support you. You’re also classed as ‘independent’ if you’re a parent to a child who lives with you most of the time, or if you’re married, in a civil partnership or live with your partner.

You can get a maximum (means-tested) student loan of ?6,750. If you have a household income of over ?34,000, you’ll only be eligible for the minimum (non-means-tested) loan of ?4,750. You won’t need to include details of your household income in the student loan application.

Independent students with a household income of ?20,999 or less are also eligible for the Independent Students’ Bursary of ?1,000, which doesn’t need to be repaid. Guide amounts are as follows.

Care-experienced students

For Scottish-resident students, if you’ve ever been looked after by a UK local authority you may be eligible for a non-means-tested bursary of ?8,100. This doesn’t need to be repaid. However, you can’t also apply for a maintenance loan. Previous higher education ount you get.

An additional accommodation grant may be available to help with accommodation costs during the summer holiday. This provides up to ?105 per week.

Extra funding for university

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Support is also available if you meet a particular set of criteria. For example, if you have a disability, are responsible financially for another adult (‘adult dependents’) or are a lone parent.

If you receive a scholarship or bursary while you study, it won’t affect the amount of student loan you can get. You can also work part-time while you study without it counting towards your household income.

If you’re studying Paramedic Science, Nursing or Midwifery at a Scottish university, you’ll get funding from the Scottish Government and won’t be eligible for a student loan from SAAS.

If you’re on a placement or studying abroad, your tuition fees will be as normal if you’re only away for a term or so. If you’re away for most of the academic year, you’re usually charged less by your home university. How much will depend on whether you’re studying in Scotland or elsewhere in the UK. SAAS may pay these fees or give a tuition fee loan.

If you’re studying at a private institution, fees may be higher than the tuition fee loan and you may need to pay the balance yourself.

In Scotland, student loans for living costs don’t depend on where you live while studying. Therefore, if you’re studying abroad for a term or up to a year, you’ll get your usual rate of loan or bursary. If your study abroad is compulsory, you can reclaim some travel costs.

If you’re on an unpaid placement, you’ll get your normal living cost support. If you’re normally eligible for a bursary and you’re on a paid placement, your bursary won’t be paid during that time.

Funding and second degrees

Scottish-resident students can get tuition fee support for some second degrees. Graduates taking an Allied Health Profession course in Scotland can get their tuition fees paid for the first two years, while those on the ScotGEM Medicine degree at St Andrews/Dundee have their tuition fees paid by the Scottish Government.

Paramedic Science, Nursing and Midwifery may also be possible as a second degree, so long as you’ve not had a Paramedic, Nursing and Midwifery Student Bursary before. You can see more about healthcare courses on our NHS bursary page.

You could also do a degree in Divinity, if you’re a candidate for ministry in a recognised faith. Your tuition fees could be paid by SAAS if, by the end of that course, you’ve not had more than seven years funding for higher education in total. Full-time PGDE teaching students also receive full funding.

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