A student loan is money you can borrow to help pay for your living costs while at college or university.
Whether you can get a student loan depends on:
- your university or college
- your course - you must be studying a higher education course
- your age - you must be under the age of 61 on the first day of the first academic year of your course
- if you meet a set of conditions known as 'residency criteria'
Higher education' means courses which are Higher National Certificates (HNC), Higher National Diplomas (HNDs) and degrees.
The amount of student loan you can borrow is 'income-assessed' so it depends on your 'household income'.
Academic year start dates
The first day of the first academic year of your course will be different depending on when you start your studies.
|Your study begins between||The academic year starts on|
|1 August and 31 December||1 August|
|1 January and 31 March||1 January|
|1 April and 30 June||1 April|
|1 July and 31 July||1 July|
How to apply
You can apply for your student loan when you apply for other student finance (for example tuition fees) or separately.
You'll only be able to get a loan of up to £5,100 if your household income is more than £34,000 a year.
To apply you'll need:
- SAAS reference number if you've applied before
- National Insurance Number - you can find this on your National Insurance Card, benefit letter, payslip or P60
- your bank account details
- course name and the university name you're applying for
- documents proving your household income if your household income is £33,999 or less
If your household income is £33,999 or less, you'll need to fill in the household income section of the application. If it is £34,000 or more, you don't have to fill out this section.
You apply on the Student Awards Agency Scotland website once you have set up an account
Go to the 'Login' section of the SAAS website and start application.
Take care to fill out your application correctly as mistakes could delay your application.
You can use the SAAS document upload service to send scanned copies of your documents. You'll need to sign in to your SAAS account to do this.
Find out more information how to apply for student finance.
When to apply
You should apply as early as possible to make sure you get your money at the start of your course. You don't need your exam results or a confirmed place to apply.
What you'll get
The maximum loan you can get is £7,100 a year. You'll need to re-apply for it along with all your other student finance each year.
What happens next
After you've applied, you can check your application's progress by going to your online account.
If your application is successful SAAS send an 'award notice' to your online account. This will tell you how much you will get.
Find out how to appeal if your application isn't successful on the SAAS website.
Other financial support
There may also be other bursaries, grants, scholarships or sponsorships that you can apply for.
Once you've started your studies, there is support and money available to help you if you have a financial emergency at university.
Paying back your student loan
You pay your student loan back once you've graduated and you're working.
You only have to pay it back once you're earning over a certain amount, known as the 'salary threshold'. How much you pay a month depends on how much you earn.
If you leave college or university before the end of your course you'll have to pay back your loans once you earn over the repayment threshold.
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