Postgraduate Funding At Universities In Scotland

Postgraduate students from Scotland and other countries in the EU (with the exception of England, Northern Ireland and Wales) can apply for funding assistance via the Scottish Funding Council (SFC). The SFC is the national, strategic body responsible for funding teaching and learning provision in Scotland's colleges and universities. Its funding currently contributes to Scotland's 16 universities and three higher education institutions. The universities and HE institutions funded by the SFC are:

Abertay University; Edinburgh Napier University; Glasgow Caledonian University; Glasgow School of Art; Heriot-Watt University; The Open University in Scotland; Queen Margaret University; Robert Gordon University; Royal Conservatoire of Scotland; SRUC; University of Aberdeen; University of Dundee; University of Edinburgh; University of Glasgow; University of St Andrews; University of Stirling; University of Strathclyde; University of the Highlands and Islands; and the University of the West of Scotland.

The SFC has invested £1.6billion into Scotland’s universities and HE institutions, and is responsible for helping many postgraduate students achieve their dreams of studying a postgrad program in Scotland. However, the SFC doesn’t actually fund individual students – instead it makes the funding available to the Scottish universities, and these in turn offer SFC-funded places via the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS).

Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS)

Scottish Funding

The Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) is an agency of the Scottish Government that gives SFC-funded financial support to eligible students. It offers a universal student loan entitlement of £10,000 for all eligible taught postgraduate students. This comprises of a tuition fee loan up to £5,500 and a non-income assessed living cost loan of £4,500. Part-time students undertaking an eligible course over two years can apply for a tuition fee loan up to £2,750 per year. 

To be eligible to apply to the SAAS for a SFC-funded scholarship, students need to fulfill one of the following criteria:

* A permanent resident of Scotland for at least three years prior to the start of the program on 1st August.

* An EU national (apart from England, Northern Ireland, Wales) residing in your own country for three years prior to the start of the program on 1st August.

* An EU national (apart from England, Northern Ireland, Wales) exercising your right of free movement anywhere in the UK or the EU and permanently domiciled in the EU for three years prior to the start of the program on 1st August.

* A non-UK and non-EU applicant with indefinite leave to remain in the UK and permanently domiciled in Scotland for a purpose other than education for three years prior to the start of the program on 1 August.

If you fulfill one of these criteria the SAAS website has all the application information you need as well as forms to download so you can apply for SFC funding. 

SFC-funded scholarships at Scottish Universities

For those students that meet the eligibility requirements, universities in Scotland offer many SFC-funded scholarships including full payment of tuition fees to postgraduate students. For example, the University of Glasgow has SFC-funded scholarships available to students opting to study a wide variety of postgraduate programs from Animal Welfare Science to Playwriting and Dramaturgy. Meanwhile the University of Edinburgh offers repayable student support of up to £3,400 via the SAAS for a whole range of postgrad subjects from Accounting to Visual Communication. And the University of Dundee currently has 40+ fully funded taught postgraduate SFC-funded places. Check the website of the Scottish university that you are interested in studying at to see what SFC-funding opportunities they have for you.

5 steps to SFC-funding success 

1. Choose your Scottish university.

2. Type ‘SAAS’ or ‘SFC Funding’ into the university website search box and click search.

3. Read the list of postgrad programs that are eligible for SAAS/SFC funding and choose the one that interests you.

4. Apply for the postgrad program.

5. Download a loan application form from the SAAS website and apply.

Student testimonial

Wojciech Borowski is a postgraduate student studying City Planning & Real Estate Development at the University of Glasgow. He says, “SFC funding made my dream of attending a postgraduate course in City Planning & Real Estate Development at University of Glasgow become reality so much easier.”

Further funding advice

If you meet the eligibility requirements to apply for an SFC-funded scholarship then you could be lucky enough to get all of your postgraduate tuition fees paid for. However if you don’t succeed with your application, or if you are from England, Northern Ireland, Wales or a country from outside of the European Union, there are thousands of other bursaries and scholarships available to you including the £500 Postgrad Solutions Study Bursaries.

Good luck in finding the funding you need, and for those applying for an SFC-funded scholarship we wish you the best of luck!


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Guide To Postgraduate Study In Scotland

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Student City Guide: Edinburgh

Student City Guide: Glasgow

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