Student funding advice

How can I apply to discretionary hardship funds during the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation? content

How can I apply to discretionary hardship funds during the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation?

How can I apply to discretionary hardship funds during the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation?

The guidance is for all currently enrolled students, which includes further education, higher education and all post graduate students.

How you apply for discretionary hardship funds will depend upon which of our campuses you are enrolled through. For further information please contact your local Student Funding contact, these are detailed below:

Students not enrolled through the above please contact the university’s central student support team.

Please note that all applications to the fund will be assessed on a case by case basis and local discretion will apply in the awarding of money, based on the availability of funds and need.

If you are not eligible for Discretionary Funds, you may be able to receive support from the university’s new Emergency Study Fund. If you are unsure if you would be eligible for emergency study funds, please get in touch with your local funding team who will be able to advise you further.

What type of student support is available for you and your family?

Both further education bursaries, education maintenance allowance, Student Award Agency Scotland bursaries and student loans are being paid as normal.

There is limited additional funding being made available during the COVID-19 pandemic hardship. This list of useful organisations who could provide funding support during this time.

During Covid-19, it is anticipated that students will, where they can, take the following steps and seek the government support available, before applying for discretionary hardship funds which may be available in the following areas:

Food, heat and light

It is expected you will divert all available funds which are not being used on rent/mortgage and unnecessary travel costs, to prioritise food, heat and light.

We will consider assistance with food, heat and light costs on application to the discretionary hardship fund for non-universal credit claimants (existing and new).

Rent/mortgage/halls of residence

In keeping with national guidance, we expect students to make arrangements directly with their landlords regarding payment of rent/lodgings.  Shelter Scotland has some useful guidance for those impacted due to Covid-19, go to the Shelter Scotland website to see.

Those with mortgages could consider utilising the payment holiday arrangements adopted by most banks and mortgage providers as a result of the pandemic.  Please speak to your mortgage provider to discuss further.

We are limited in our ability to provide funds for accommodation costs and may not be able to provide assistance for any shortfall.  We will, however, continue to support students who would previously have met the criteria for support.

Loss of employment/self-employment income

As the national workforce was in full operation until 20 March 2020, it is anticipated that you will have payment from your employer for hours worked till that date, on the normal pay date, even if it is reduced for hours you did not work . 

Many employers are looking to adopt the governments Job Retention Scheme which is due to be available to them as of the end of April.  Employers should notify you of their intention to either:

  • put you in the “Furloughed Workers” grouping where you will get 80% of your normal pay
  • or advise you that your employment has been terminated. Where your employment is terminated you should expect any holiday pay entitlement you are due.

Students who are self-employed may be able to access government assistance. The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has produced some useful guidance to help direct the self-employed through this uncertain time. 

You may also be able to apply for Universal Credit (see below).

Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert, has created some useful guidance to support those who have recently lost employment or who are self-employed through the impact of Covid-19. 

We are limited in our ability to provide funds to deal with loss of income and may not able to provide assistance for any shortfall. We will, however, consider supporting students with short-term cash flow issues.

Current Universal Credit Claimant

Where you have lost employment/self-employment income, and you are already a Universal Credit claimant your personal account will ensure that you have the minimum income the government deems appropriate for your family’s day to day living.  It will take account of your student income and make an adjustment for your drop in employment/self-employment income.

If you are still in financial hardship, please apply for a Scottish Government crisis grant. This fund will not impact your universal credit payments.

For further information on Universal Credit, see the Government website.

We are limited in our ability to provide funds if you receive Universal Credit and may not able to provide assistance for any shortfall.  Please note that any payments that we make to you may be classed as income and could reduce your future UC payments.

New Universal Credit Claims

Where you have lost employment/self-employment income, and you are not already a universal credit claimant you can apply for universal credit to ensure you have the minimum income the government deems appropriate for your family’s day to day living.  They will take account of your student income.

Universal credit can provide advance payment to alleviate immediate hardship.

If you are still in financial hardship, please apply for a Scottish Government crisis grant. This fund will not impact your universal credit payments.

For further information on Universal Credit, see the Government website.

We are limited in our ability to provide funds if you are applying for Universal Credit and may not be able to provide assistance for any shortfall.  Please note that any payments that we make to you may be classed as income and could impact your claim for Universal Credit.

Travel Costs

We anticipate that your travel costs will drop in accordance with your day to day life adjustments due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

We are limited in our ability to provide funds for travel and we may not be able to provide assistance.

IT Equipment

If you do not have access to the IT equipment required to access your learning, you may be eligible to apply to the Emergency Study Fund.

If I am not eligible for Discretionary Funds, is there any additional support available? content

If I am not eligible for Discretionary Funds, is there any additional support available?

If I am not eligible for Discretionary Funds, is there any additional support available?

If you are not eligible for Discretionary Funds, you may be able to receive support from the university’s new Emergency Study Fund

This fund has been set up to help students impacted by the Covid-19 situation and who are in need of IT equipment, to enable them to continue their studies, or financial support to help with day to day living costs. With regards to financial support, only students NOT eligible for discretionary funds should apply to this fund. This includes, but is not limited to, EU and International students.

If you are unsure if you would be eligible for funds, please get in touch with your local funding team who will be able to advise you further.

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Further education students

I’m about to finish my college course but using mitigating circumstances to submit work after the summer, what support can I access if I can’t find a job? content

I’m about to finish my college course but using mitigating circumstances to submit work after the summer, what support can I access if I can’t find a job?

I’m about to finish my college course but using mitigating circumstances to submit work after the summer, what support can I access if I can’t find a job?

You should be able to make a claim for Universal Credit which will help with your living costs. You may have a wait for your claim to be processed due to current high demand but if you are in need, you can request an advance payment.

How will I receive my education maintenance allowance payment? content

How will I receive my education maintenance allowance payment?

How will I receive my education maintenance allowance payment?

The EMA payment will be paid in full in the normal way on the scheduled date. Please remember there are no payments for holiday weeks, and this has not changed.

How will I be paid my further education bursary? content

How will I be paid my further education bursary?

How will I be paid my further education bursary?

The maintenance allowance for living costs will be paid in full in the normal way on the scheduled date.

Travel allowance for weeks after the Easter holiday weeks where the college remains closed will be cancelled. This will be reinstated when travelling to face to face teaching resumes.

Could bursaries be paid early to help students? content

Could bursaries be paid early to help students?

Could bursaries be paid early to help students?

At present, bursary payments will still be made on the existing planned dates. Currently there are no plans to make payments available early to students. If you would like to talk to someone about money matters you can contact your local support team for advice.

How will I be paid my discretionary hardship funds? content

How will I be paid my discretionary hardship funds?

How will I be paid my discretionary hardship funds?

The funds will be paid in full in the normal way on the scheduled date.

What are discretionary funds? content

What are discretionary funds?

What are discretionary funds?

Discretionary funds are there to support students who have accessed all funding available to them and who are still in legitimate hardship. During Covid-19, rent, electricity and heating will be prioritised areas for funding applications.

Will I still receive funding for travel? content

Will I still receive funding for travel?

Will I still receive funding for travel?

Due to the national self-isolation guidance and as our colleges have now ceased face to face teaching, the Scottish Funding Council have advised that students should no longer require travel costs support, and awards will be adjusted accordingly. This include students who were receiving travel costs from further education or higher education discretionary hardship funds, this element will stop too.

If you are in financial hardship, please contact your local Student Support/Student Finance team.

Will I be marked as absent from my course and how will this impact payments of my student support funds? content

Will I be marked as absent from my course and how will this impact payments of my student support funds?

Will I be marked as absent from my course and how will this impact payments of my student support funds?

As of 17 March 2020, until face-to-face teaching of classes and placements resume you will be granted authorised absence with an expectation that you engage in online learning where it is being provided to you by staff.

Will I continue to be paid my student support funding if I am self-isolating? content

Will I continue to be paid my student support funding if I am self-isolating?

Will I continue to be paid my student support funding if I am self-isolating?

Yes, students will continue to receive all student support funding (except travel costs) when self-isolating in accordance with NHS Scotland inform COVID-19 guidance.

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Higher education students

The Scottish Government, Student Award Agency Scotland, Education Scotland and the Student Loans Company advises students to monitor the situation checking their websites for the latest updates and following social media channels.

I’m a final year student using mitigating circumstances to submit final academic work after the summer, what support can I access if I can’t find a job? content

I’m a final year student using mitigating circumstances to submit final academic work after the summer, what support can I access if I can’t find a job?

I’m a final year student using mitigating circumstances to submit final academic work after the summer, what support can I access if I can’t find a job?

You should be able to make a claim for Universal Credit which will help with your living costs. You may have a wait for your claim to be processed due to current high demand but if you are in need,  you can request an advance payment.

You may also be eligible for short-term support from discretionary funds however practitioners are cautious of awarding funds to students who are claiming Universal Credit as any payment from this fund is counted as income and therefore will impact your Universal Credit. You will need to bear this in mind should you receive support from this fund.

Will my student loan still be paid? content

Will my student loan still be paid?

Will my student loan still be paid?

Yes. All student loan payments made by Student Loans Company to Scottish students are still being paid as planned. It is the Student Loans Company that issues student loans. You can find the latest guidance for current and prospective students on the Student Loans Company website.

Students should continue to engage with their studies via the new course arrangements to deliver teaching and learning online. In addition to that, you should follow the local attendance reporting arrangements, which includes informing your course leader or international support member of staff that you are unwell.

What are discretionary funds? content

What are discretionary funds?

What are discretionary funds?

Discretionary funds are there to support students who have accessed all funding available to them and who are still in legitimate hardship.

Will I still be paid my discretionary hardship fund? content

Will I still be paid my discretionary hardship fund?

Will I still be paid my discretionary hardship fund?

Yes. These will be paid in full in the normal way on the scheduled date.

I’ve not applied for this year’s funding yet and the 31 March deadline has past, will I still be paid? content

I’ve not applied for this year’s funding yet and the 31 March deadline has past, will I still be paid?

I’ve not applied for this year’s funding yet and the 31 March deadline has past, will I still be paid?

Student Awards Agency Scotland encourage students to submit their outstanding applications for 2019/20 where possible by 31 March 2020. However given the unprecedented times, discretion will be applied when considering late payments and Student Awards Agency Scotland will endeavour to continue to fund students on time.

Can I still post copies of documents to the Student Awards Agency Scotland offices? content

Can I still post copies of documents to the Student Awards Agency Scotland offices?

Can I still post copies of documents to the Student Awards Agency Scotland offices?

No, their mail room is now closed until further notice, however they will endeavour to continue to provide funding on time. You will need to send documents/evidence to the online or submit through the online document uploader on your SAAS account.