Scholarships and Student Funding

Glossary of funding terms

Explanations of frequently used terms you will come across in your search for funding.


A bursary is an amount of money granted to a student in financial need to help with their living costs. They do not have to be repaid.

There are a large number of bursaries which are available to undergraduate students at the University of Edinburgh. Further details can be found in the prospective undergraduates section.

More information on undergraduate bursaries

Charities and trusts

Funding can often be found through Charitable Trusts. These sources are varied. Financial help may be available for study costs, tuition fees, books and travel expenses. In some cases help may be available for living costs.

Discretionary fund

Discretionary funds are an additional source of financial support provided by the Government to help meet the living costs of students who are experiencing financial hardship.

They are administered by the University. The available funds are limited and are designed to provide supplementary support to students in financial difficulties.

These funds are not sufficient nor intended to be a student’s primary source of income. Limited University funds are available to help students who are ineligible to receive an award from Government funds.

Students experiencing financial hardship should in the first instance contact the Edinburgh University Students' Association (EUSA) Advice Place website.


Higher Education (HE) refers to University or College education as opposed to School education.

Residual Household Income (RHI)

Residual Household Income is calculated by taking the total gross taxable income from the household, reducing that by the amount of Private Pension Plans, AVC's, or other taxable allowances (for example magazine subscriptions) the sponsors (Mother, Father, Spouse, Partner) pays, this is then further reduced by £1,130 for each child/student in the household who are financially dependant on the sponsor/s.


Rest of UK (RUK) domiciled students refers to students who usually live in England, Wales or Northern Ireland.

Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS)

The Student Awards Agency Scotland is part of the Scottish Executive and deals with support for eligible Scottish domiciled students on courses of higher education throughout the UK.


A scholarship is an amount of money awarded to a student based on academic merit. They do not have to be repaid.

There are a number of scholarships which are awarded to students at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.

Student Loans Company (SLC)

The Student Loans Company is the non departmental government body which administrates publicly financed loans for students in the United Kingdom.


Sponsorship is an amount of money provided to a student by a company or organisation in order to fund a student’s study.

Some government departments, firms and industrial organisations have schemes, but they are usually only for certain programmes of study and can be very competitive.

They do not have to be repaid, however they can entail a certain commitment to the organisation which provides the funding, such as working for them in holidays or after completion of studies.

Further information on sponsorship

Student loans

Student Loans are part of the Government's financial support package for students carrying out a course of Higher Education in the United Kingdom, and are available to help students meet their living costs.

The rate at which borrowers repay their loans depends on the level of their income. In general there is no mandatory support for postgraduate study, except for Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) studies for those wishing to become teachers.


A studentship is an amount of money provided to a postgraduate student to undertake a taught or research programme.

They are usually provided through the University, College, or School to which the student will belong, and are mainly funded by the Government's Research Councils although other funds may come from the EU, industry and other sources.

They can provide both fees and a maintenance grant, and do not have to be repaid.

Supplementary grants

There are supplementary grants available from the SAAS to help with living costs. The extra support you can get depends on your personal circumstances.

You do not have to pay back the supplementary grants unless you lose your entitlement to them. These include:

  • Dependants' Grant
  • Lone Parents Grant
  • Vacation Grant for Care Leavers

Tuition Fee Loan

This non means tested loan is paid by the Student Loans Company directly to the University to cover your fees. Once you have your Student Support Number the University will be able to charge your fees to the Student Loans Company and not to you.

Tuition fees

Tuition fees cover the cost of your studies and vary depending on the type of course you are taking.

How much your tuition fees will be and how you are expected to pay for them will depend on which Award Authority you belong to, and when you start your higher education course.