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  • 1. MINI-GUIDE TO STUDENT FINANCE for Undergraduate UK (home) Students
  • 2. Introduction This guide provides introductory information about sources of finance. Each section tells you where you can find out more and how to apply. The information provided applies mainly to Scottish domiciled students studying at a Scottish institution who will generally apply to the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) for funding. English and Welsh domiciled students should contact their Local Education Authority (LEA) for funding information whilst students from Northern Ireland should contact their local Library Board. There are 3 categories of financial support for undergraduate students depending on the number of modules you have enrolled for in an academic year. Category 1 If you have enrolled for a full-time course (normally 8 modules in the year), you are eligible for “full-time” funding. Category 2 If you have enrolled for 4 or more modules in the year, you are classed as doing “50% or more of a full-time course”. Category 3 If you enrol for 3 or less modules in a year, you are doing “less than 50% of a full-time course”. The amount and type of financial support you have access to depend on which of the above categories you fall into. This mini-guide details each of the sources of financial support, with a note below the heading to indicate which of the above 3 categories can apply. 2
  • 3. FUNDS FROM STUDENT AWARDS AGENCY FOR SCOTLAND Detailed information on Tuition Fees, Student Loans and Supplementary Grants is given in the Guide to Student Support (SAS4), which you can access on the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) website at A small number of copies are available at your Institution for reference purposes. The following sections provide a brief summary. Application details: When you have been offered and have accepted a place on a course of study, you should obtain and complete a SAAS funding application form (SAS3). This is available on-line at the website above. The Guide (SAS 4) can be requested from SAAS, or read on-line. This form covers Tuition Fees, Student Loans, Young Students’ Bursary and Supplementary Grants and is available in Schools, Colleges, Careers Offices and Universities. TUITION FEES (Category 1 only) Tuition fees are not means tested. This means that it does not matter how much your parents or spouse earn. If you are eligible for tuition fees, they are paid in full. There is no age limit for payment of tuition fees. STUDENT LOANS (Category 1 only) Student loans are means tested. The amount you are entitled to will depend on your spouse or parents’ income. If you are aged 25 or over and unmarried, you will be eligible for the maximum student loan. Students aged over 55 at the start of the academic year of their first HE course are not eligible for Student Loans, and should check with SAAS and the University Welfare Adviser about other possible sources of funding. GRANTS AND BURSARIES (Category 1 only) Some of your student finance may be non-repayable, for example Dependants’ Grant for your husband or wife, Lone Parents' Grant, Additional Childcare Grant for Lone Parents, Young Students’ Bursary, Vacation Grant for Care Leavers and Travelling Expenses. Students aged over 55 at the first of the academic years of their first HE course are eligible to apply for supplementary grants (ie travel expenses), and should check with the University Welfare Adviser about other possible sources of funding. 3
  • 4. If you have any doubts about whether you will qualify for any of the above, it is advisable to contact your awarding body or the Welfare Adviser on your campus as soon as possible. DISABLED STUDENTS’ ALLOWANCE (DSA) (Categories 1 and 2) DSA is funding for students who, by reason of their disability, incur additional expenditure arising from attendance on their course. It can assist students with the costs of equipment, special transport, and non-medical personal help. This is a non-repayable award. Application details: DSA applications forms are available from SAAS or their website. You are advised to contact a Special Needs Adviser on your campus for assistance with your application. ADDITIONAL FUNDS FROM YOUR UNIVERSITY, OR OTHER PLACES MATURE STUDENTS’ BURSARY FUND (MSBF) (Category 1 only) This fund is intended to provide needs-related, non-repayable bursaries to mature students. You can apply for help with rent, mortgage, childcare costs, or shortfall of income. A mature student is someone who: • is aged 25 or over before the start of the course or • is married before the start of the course or • has been self-supporting for any 3 years before the start of the course. Assistance from the MSBF is only available to students whose first continuous year of Higher Education is 2001/2002 or later. Students also need to meet the eligibility criteria for a student loan and be in receipt of tuition fees assistance from a UK awarding body. In addition, only those students who have applied for the maximum student loan entitlement are eligible to apply. Application details: Application forms are available from the Welfare Service on your campus once you have matriculated. HARDSHIP FUND (Categories 1 and 2) To be eligible for assistance from this fund, students must be able to show that they are experiencing financial hardship. Hardship generally means that income is less than the amount of necessary expenditure or that unforeseen circumstances have arisen, which have 4
  • 5. had a detrimental effect on your financial situation. You can apply for help with rent, mortgage, childcare costs, or shortfall of income. Students also need to meet the eligibility criteria for a student loan and be in receipt of tuition fees assistance from UK awarding body. In addition, only those students who have applied for the maximum student loan entitlement are eligible to apply. Application details: Application forms are available from the Welfare Service on your campus once you have matriculated. HARDSHIP FUND SHORT TERM LOAN (Categories 1 and 2) If you have applied for a student loan and not yet received your first instalment, you may apply, on the grounds of hardship, for a short-term loan from the Hardship Fund on the understanding that you repay this as soon as your student finance arrives. Evidence of the means to repay will be required. Failure to repay the loan by the agreed date will constitute a breach of the University’s Debt Policy. This means that you would be prevented from graduating or progressing to the next year of study. In exceptional circumstances, extensions to repay short term loans may be authorised by a Welfare Adviser. Application details: Applicants should book a 10 minute appointment to see a Welfare Adviser. TRAVEL EXPENSES (Category 1 only) SAAS reimburses travel expenses based on the cheapest form of public transport. Travel expenses are means-tested and SAAS will not pay the first part of every claim (this amount is published annually). Application details: Claim forms (AB4) are available on the SAAS website or from the University from December onwards. PART-TIME STUDENT LOANS (Category 2 only) The part-time student loan of £500 per year is intended to help with the costs of books, study materials and travel expenses. This loan is means tested and income thresholds apply. As these loans are intended to cover study related costs, other income (e.g. benefit entitlement) should not be affected. 5
  • 6. Application details: Application forms are available from Student Services or on the SAAS website. FEE WAIVERS (Categories 2 and 3) Fee waivers may be applied for where a student or his/her family are in receipt of: • Income Support or • Working Tax Credit or • Disabled Person's Tax Credit or • Housing Benefit OR where a student is in receipt of: • Severe Disablement Allowance or • Incapacity Benefit OR where the student has been in receipt of Jobseekers Allowance for at least six weeks in advance of the start of his/her course OR if the net income of the student's family is equal to or lower than the threshold for entitlement to Income Support. Application details: Fee waiver application forms are available from the University's Finance Office or from the Centre for Lifelong Learning. CAREER DEVELOPMENT LOANS (CDLs) (Categories 1, 2 and 3) Career Development Loans help people to pay for vocational education or training by offering a deferred repayment bank loan. You can, if eligible, apply to borrow between £300 and £8,000 to pay for up to 80% of course fees plus the full cost of books, materials and other study related expenses. If you have been out of work for 3 months or more, you may be able to apply for 100% of course fees. You may also be able to apply for living expenses if your course is full-time. You must be over 18 at the time of the loan starting. CDLs support up to two years of vocational training plus, if relevant, a maximum of one year of practical experience. Applicants must not have 'reasonable and adequate access to funds', other than through a CDL, to pay for the course. If you are a full-time student and receive a student loan and tuition fees from an awarding body, you will not be eligible. Application details: 6
  • 7. For further information and an application form, contact the Career Development Loan Information Line on 0800 585505. You can also contact your local Jobcentre or visit GENERAL INFORMATION WORKING TAX CREDITS AND CHILD TAX CREDITS (Categories 1,2 &3, students who are working, or have dependent children) Students and their families could be entitled to more money through the new tax credits. Students who have children will be entitled to claim the new Child Tax Credit, which will be paid to those who are responsible for at least one child, whether or not they are in paid work. Students who work more than sixteen hours a week, could also be eligible for Working Tax Credit, which is designed to make work pay for those on lower incomes. Extra help is also available to those who are disabled or who are caring for disabled children. You can find out more information by contacting the Inland Revenue Tax Credit Helpline on 0845 300 3900, or by visiting the website at NATIONAL INSURANCE CONTRIBUTIONS (Home Responsibilities Protection) (all categories, students who have dependant children) HRP can help to protect your basic State Pension by reducing the number of years that you need to have paid or been credited with enough National Insurance contributions to make the year count towards getting a full pension. If you are getting Child Benefit for a child under 16, your National Insurance account is automatically noted so that you can be awarded HRP if you do not work or your earnings are low for that year. But, where you have a partner, you need to make sure that it is the person who needs the HRP who is claiming the Child Benefit. If your partner has been awarded Child Benefit but he or she is working and you are not, you need to arrange to switch the Child Benefit award so that you get HRP to protect your pension rights. Because HRP is only awarded for full tax years (from 6 April to 5 April), you need to arrange to transfer Child Benefit at the beginning of the tax year. You need to do this in good time to allow for the necessary arrangements to be made. If you want to change your Child Benefit award, contact the Child Benefit Office on 0845 3021444. They will send you a claim form to complete and you will need to supply written confirmation from your partner that they agree to the transfer. COUNCIL TAX EXEMPTION (Category 1 only) Full time students on courses lasting longer than 24 weeks may be exempt from Council Tax, depending on their circumstances. Application details: Ask your local Council Tax Office for an application form. You should complete it, take it to the Student Records Office to be stamped and then send it to your Council Tax Office. The Student Services staff at Crichton campus supply, and stamp these forms. 7
  • 8. HEALTH COSTS (all categories) Students are not automatically exempt from health costs. People on a low income can apply for help with Health Costs (dental, prescriptions, optical etc). If you qualify for Tax Credits, and your income qualifies you for this, you should automatically be sent a Certificate to use for exemption for this. If you are not getting Tax Credits, and wish to apply for exemption, there is a form HC1, which you can get at the Student Services, Benefits Agency or Post Office. If you would like advice about free prescriptions and other NHS charges, the NHS Scotland FREEPHONE Helpline number is 0800 22 44 88. TRUST FUNDS, SCHOLARSHIPS AND SPONSORSHIPS (Categories 1, 2 and 3) The above can often be valuable sources of additional finance. For further information, obtain a copy of the Student Services booklet entitled “Alternative Sources of Funding”. (Crichton campus booklet is called “A guide to Trust Funds & Budgeting”). You should also check the Student Services noticeboards on your campus for information specific to your area. CHILDCARE COSTS (all students with childcare costs) The following are possible sources of funding for registered childcare: • SAAS Additional Childcare Grant for Lone Parents • Mature Students' Bursary Fund • Hardship Fund • Trust Funds • Local employment initiatives/partnerships BUS/COACH TRAVEL (Category 1 only) • Student discount cards may be purchased from local bus stations (terms and conditions apply). • If you are aged 16 to 25 or a full time student, you can purchase a Student/Young Person Discount Coachcard, giving you savings of up to 30% on many National Express coaches. The National Express website is • Local bus companies sell discounted tickets for weekly travel. RAIL TRAVEL (Category 1 only) 8
  • 9. The Young Persons’ Railcard can be purchased and used by full-time students of any age. This entitles the holder to one third off most standard fares. Application forms are available from local train stations. For more information visit USEFUL BOOKLETS (available at Student Services) • Additional Sources of Funding (Trust Funds, Scholarships etc) • What Support is available for mature Scottish students in Higher Education? • What Support is available for young Scottish students in Higher Education? • What Support is available for Part-time or Distance learning Scottish students in Higher Education? • What support is available for Scottish lone parents in Further and Higher Education? • Student loans: A guide to terms and conditions • Bridging the gap: a guide to the Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) in Higher Education USEFUL WEBSITES • (for Scottish students) • (for English and Welsh students) • (for Northern Irish students) The information in this booklet cannot cover all eventualities. Students should contact their designated awarding bodies for further guidance. All information is correct at the date of printing. Paisley Campus Paisley PA1 2BE Tel: 0141 848 3803 Fax: 0141 848 3804 University Campus, Ayr Beech Grove Ayr KA8 OSR Tel: 01292 886267 Fax: 01292 886278 University Campus, Crichton Maxwell House Dumfries DG1 4UQ Tel: 01387 702066 Fax: 01387 702077 Issue Date: June 2004 9