Scottish students with low family incomes who study at a Scottish university will get more cash towards living costs from next year.

The Scottish Government will today announce it will provide up to £7,250 a year for the poorest new and existing students in a mix of grants and loans from the 2013/14 academic year.

This is part of a guarantee for a minimum £7,000 a year income for Scottish students studying in Scotland.

However, as this pledge will be phased in, with full dates not yet available, many students won't get that guarantee from September 2013. Only 45,000 students, which is 10% of the Scottish student population in Scotland, will.

The new structure will only apply to Scottish students who study at a Scottish university. They will continue not to pay any tuition fees.

What's the current loans system?

  • What's the maximum funding? It's £6,380 a year as a loan and grant combination, though only the poorest get the full amount.
  • How is this made up? Students can get up to £6,380 as a loan (£5,395 if they live with parents). They may also qualify for a grant (which doesn't need repaying) of up to £2,640 (£1,000 if over 25, married or in a civil partnership). However, any grant reduces the loan students can take out by the same amount.

What's the new system from 2013/14?

  • Both the loan and grant maximums will fall for many. But getting a grant does NOT reduce the loan entitlement, so for some the overall entitlement will rise.
  • For others, it will fall, until the £7,000 a year guarantee comes into force.
  • Whether a student lives at home or is in student accommodation won't affect their entitlement.
  • The table below explains the structure:

2013/14 max annual Scottish student handouts

Family income Grant Loan Total Grant Loan Total
  U25s 25+/married/self-sufficient
Under £17,000 £1,750 £5,500 £7,250 £750 £6,500 £7,250
£17k-£24k £1,000 £5,500 £6,500 £0 £6,500 £6,500
£24k-£34k £500 £5,500 £6,000 £0 £6,000 £6,000
£34k+ £0 £4,500 £4,500 £0 £4,500 £4,500
Over time, all to get min £7,000/year help (dates TBC)

The new structure does not apply to Scottish students studying elsewhere in the UK, nor English and Northern Irish students studying in Scotland. They will continue to get up to £5,500 a year (£7,675 in London) as a loan, which is reduced by any income-dependent grant (of up to £3,250 a year).

Welsh students in Scotland will receive some support from the Welsh Government.