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Boost for Scottish students as they're to get extra living costs support

Scottish students are to receive a £2,400 boost to help with their living costs from this September in the form of a new "special support" loan. This will be available on top of a standard maintenance loan and grant. 

Below we explain who can get the new loan and how it works. For full info on how student loans work generally in Scotland, see our Student Loans: Scotland guide. You can also learn how student finance works in the rest of the UK in our guides on England, Northern Ireland and Wales.

A new 'special support' loan will be made available from this September

From the 2024/25 academic year, both new and continuing full-time Scottish students will be able to get: 

  • A new "special support" loan worth £2,400 a year. The purpose of this loan is to help with general study, travel and childcare costs. 
This will be available ON TOP of the existing: 
  • Non-repayable grant worth up to £2,000 a year. 
  • Repayable maintenance loan worth up to £7,000 a year.

The non-repayable grant and repayable maintenance loans typically rise each year, but there won't be any increases to these in 2024/25 due to the introduction of the special support loan. 

It means the total amount of support available for full-time students will rise from a maximum of £9,000 to a maximum of £11,400. 

The new loan will be available to ALL full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students – regardless of household income 

To get the new "special support" loan, you must be a full-time undergraduate or postgraduate student. There is currently no support available for part-time students.

Unlike the maintenance loan and non-repayable grant, the special support loan is NOT means-tested. This means you'll get the full £2,400 regardless of your household income, which for most students is effectively their parents' income – see our table below for more on this.

It's also important to note that the special support loan WILL NOT impact your entitlement to any benefits you claim while studying. 

You'll be able to apply for it in exactly the same way as you do for your maintenance loan and grant, via the Student Awards Agency Scotland (though you don't have to if you don't want or need to). You'll also be paid it, and repay it, in exactly the same way as with the existing maintenance loan and grant.

As always, beware the hidden parental contribution

As explained above, the grant and maintenance loan elements of support are means-tested in Scotland, meaning students from the lowest-income households will get the largest amount of support, as they qualify for the maximum possible grant and the maximum possible maintenance loan.

As household income rises, your grant and loan entitlement decreases, meaning you will get less in total support compared to lower-income households – and parents are expected to fill in this gap themselves.

The table below shows you how much you can expect to receive based on your household income with the new special support loan factored in for the 2024/25 academic year. For more info and to see exactly how much you're expected to contribute each academic year, use our parental contribution calculator.

Support for Scottish students towards living costs for the 2024/25 academic year

Household income Grant Maintenance loan Special support loan Total support available
£0 to £20,999 £2,000 £7,000 £2,400 £11,400
£21,000 to £23,999 £1,125 £7,000 £2,400 £10,525
£24,000 to £33,999 £500 £7,000 £2,400 £9,900
£34,000 or more £0 £6,000 £2,400 £8,400

Unlike the rest of the UK, there is no difference in the amount of support available whether you choose to study in Scotland or elsewhere in the UK.

What's happening with maintenance loans in England, Wales and Northern Ireland?

In England support is only available via a maintenance loan, while in Wales and Northern Ireland it's a mix of maintenance loan and non-repayable grant. 

Here's what's happening for the 2024/25 academic year:

  • England will raise its maintenance loan by 2.5%, which is a real-terms cut as inflation currently stands at 4%. This means the total amount of support available for a student living away from home, but not in London, will rise from £9,978 to £10,227 a year (a larger amount is available for those living away from home in London).

  • Northern Ireland will not increase its maintenance support for the 2024/25 academic year, after raising it by 27% for the current academic year. It means the maximum amount available for a student living away from home, but not in London, will remain at £8,136 (a larger amount is available for those living away from home in London).
  • Wales will increase its undergraduate maintenance loan by 3.7% for new students, as well as for those who started their course on or after 1 August 2018.

    This means the maximum amount available for a student living away from home, but not in London, will increase from £11,720 to £12,150 (a larger amount is available for those living away from home in London). This is made up of the maintenance loan and a non-repayable grant – the split between the two is based on household income.

Read more on how student finance works more generally in EnglandNorthern Ireland and Wales.

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