UK Postgraduate students
The Scottish Government makes funds available to support UK students in financial difficulty during their studies. The means-tested funds are focused on supporting living costs and are not to reduce tuition fees.
Financial support for UK postgraduate students
Semester 2 applications will be re-open from 10am on Monday 9 January 2023.
The Scottish Government makes funds available to support postgraduate students domiciled in the UK who are experiencing financial difficulty. The Postgraduate Discretionary Fund is means-tested and focused on providing short term living cost support.
We have introduced some changes from the 2022/23 academic session:
- The maximum allocation for accommodation, gas and electricity, food and other living costs has been increased in response to the cost of living increases
- Support resources for budgeting where debt is identified LINK
- Clear guidance on excessive spending and gambling LINK
Please ensure that you read this document as it contains important information:
Welfare Advisors at the EUSA Advice Place are available to answer your questions and provide support for your application. We recommend contacting a Welfare Advisor before completing the form Advice Place Contacts.
Who is eligible for the postgraduate discretionary fund?
- Postgraduate students
- You must be from Scotland, England, Wales or Northern Ireland.
- You are from the EU and you receive an income assessed award from SAAS or the SLC are also eligible to apply.
- You have applied for your full income-assessed student loan entitlement and, if successful, have received your first instalment.
- You have received the first payment of your student maintenance/grant.
- Students from England and Wales can receive maintenance loans for research programmes and will need to have received their first payment.
- You have already exhausted all other possible sources of funding, such as the Student Loans Company, grants, employment and state benefits
- You have experienced a change in your financial circumstances
Who is not eligible for the postgraduate discretionary fund?
- Students from outside the UK are not eligible to apply for these funds.
- Students in receipt of a Nursing and Midwifery Student Bursary are not eligible for assistance from this fund, but should consider applying for the Hardship Fund.
- Students categorised as "Exam Only" or on multiple repeat years.
- Students who are interrupted from their studies can only apply if that interruption is for medical reasons.
What the fund is not able to support?
- Anticipated future costs
- Shortfalls in your month to month maintenance
- Assistance with tuition fees
- You have access to savings or other investments including, but not limited to, cryptocurrency, help to buy ISAs, trust funds. If you are in receipt of funding due to being a care leaver or estranged student we will recognised the need for savings
- You are holding money for friends or family - this will be treated as your own available funds
- Where we identify excessive spending any potential award will be reduced. Consistent excessive spending across multiple applications may lead to no funds being awarded. This would include a high volume spend on takeaways this would include but is not limited to a high volume spend on takeaways, alcohol, eating out, clothing.
- Where fraudulent behaviour has been identified, including not declaring all savings or movement of funds to avoid recognition of funds
How to apply
The fund is means tested and we follow audit standards. This requires us to assess a student’s access to funding and their living costs to determine financial hardship. We do so by reviewing your income, living costs and your personal statement outlining your current financial circumstances. For example, what has changed leading to hardship, an outline of your debt or financial challenges.
Please use the personal statement to communicate your financial circumstances. This is how we understand your financial circumstances to determine the level of support needed.
Please submit the following supporting documentation with your online application in PDF format only:
- bank statements for all accounts for two months up to the application date to show your income and living costs. This includes all accounts you have access to including, digital savings accounts, ISAs, cryptocurrency, social media wallets, overseas accounts and shared accounts.
- evidence of your accommodation or lease or mortgage - to understand your housing commitment
- evidence of your funding body or scholarship support, eg, award letter - to understand the income level you receive
- evidence of debts you are referring to in your personal statement, eg. credit cards - to understand your financial commitments
Please note we are not able to consider screenshots.
Assessment will begin once all documentation is received, if there is any gaps this will delay your application. You will receive an automated email with a 'call number', we will use this number to track your application should you wish to get in touch.
If you are successful, we will pay to your nominated bank account please use this link to add the details: Finance - Add or Amend My Email Address or Bank Details on My Student Record - Self-Service Portal (unidesk.ac.uk)
If you submit an application or supporting documentation which we then discover to be fraudulent or if we receive any information about fraudulent applications, this will be addressed within regulations 12.4 of the Student Code of Conduct. SAAS will be notified of any suspected fraud and any funds awarded will need to be paid back in full. This includes not declaring all access to savings or bank accounts when applying for government funding.
What happens next?
Depending on application demand, assessment normally takes about 30 working days from receipt of a complete application, you will receive an email informing you of the decision. We will keep our webpages up to date with processing times.
If your application is successful, it can take up to 20 working days for payments to be processed.
How do I receive the funds?
For successful awards, these are split across two semesters to support financial budgeting. If you require further splits into monthly income, please do let us know Awards are paid by BACS (Bankers' Automated Clearing Services). If you are successful, Finance will process payment to your bank account. You will be asked to provide these details via a link on the form. It may take up to 10 working days for funds to reach your bank account.
Overseas Bank accounts
We are unable to make payments to overseas bank accounts. You must set up a UK bank account before applying to the fund.
Can I apply more than once?
We aim to support as many students as possible. You can apply more than once during the academic year. Each case is considered on its individual merits at the time of application. However, previous applications - whether successful or not - will be taken into consideration.
Why are applications rejected?
Applications can be rejected for lack of supporting information, evidence of excessive spending or gambling, or lack of financial hardship. Please do read the guidance to understand in full how your application will be assessed and talk with Advice Place Contacts. Access to the fund should not be assumed, particularly, where we have a higher demand for the fund.
What if I disagree with the assessment of my application?
We aim to help as many students as possible in genuine hardship within the funds allocated but are not able to provide for all applicants. If you disagree with the decision reached you are entitled to request a review of your application. Reviews should be sent to email@example.com with the subject "Request for Postgraduate Discretionary Review"
Reviews should be requested in writing, clearly stating the grounds for appeal and, where appropriate, supplying additional documentary evidence to support the review process. All requests for review must be received within 7 days of the date of the original decision letter. The review process can take up to two weeks.
After you have received the outcome of your review, if you still disagree with our decision you may appeal in writing to the Scholarships and Student Funding Services Manager, who is responsible for handling the final appeal. You should clearly indicate how you believe an incorrect decision has been made. The applicant will be informed of the final decision in writing within 28 working days.
EUSA Advice Place staff will be able to advise you as to whether or not you have sufficient grounds to request a review. We recommend reading through the framework to support your appeal.