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Support at university

There is help available when you're studying if you need:

  • extra financial support
  • support if you're a parent
  • help with your studies
  • health and wellbeing support
  • other types of support

Extra financial support

If you have financial difficulties while studying, you could get extra money from your university. They can give you money from a fund known as a 'discretionary fund' (sometimes called a 'hardship fund').

Support for parents

You may be able to get extra funding if you're a parent studying at university or college. For example:

  • the Childcare Fund – given to eligible student parents to help pay for registered childcare
  • Child Tax Credit – covers childcare costs
  • Working Tax Credit – increases the income of working people who are on a low income
  • the Lone Parents' Grant – available if you're a student who has at least 1 dependent child that lives with you most of the time and you're either:
    • single
    • widowed
    • divorced
    • separated
    • no longer living with a partner

Managing your disability or learning difficulty

If you have a disability or a learning difficulty that's affecting your studies you should speak to student support services. They can tell you what support is available.

They can also help you with:

  • completing your Disabled Students' Allowance application
  • organising testing with an educational psychologist
  • providing learning materials in different formats
  • arranging additional support in exams

Support for young carers

Schools, colleges and universities can give you advice about how to balance studying and your caring responsibilities.

Other organisations offering advice include:

  • Carers Trust offer advice on studying and training for people with caring responsibilities.

If you've been attending a young carer's service, they can also support you.

Help with your studies

You may need extra support with your studies, for things like:

  • managing your disability or learning difficulty
  • moving from full-time to part-time study
  • funding if you change course or leave your course

Moving from full-time to part-time study

During your studies you might need to change from a full-time course to a part-time course.

Studying part-time will affect your:

  • living cost funding
  • tuition fee funding
  • length of time studying

Find out about your options if you're considering moving from full-time to part-time study.

Funding if you change course

If you change course or repeat part of your course (known as 'repeating a period of study') you may be able to claim extra funding.

The Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) 'plus one' year can be used if you need to repeat a period of study:

  • for academic reasons, for example you've not passed your exams or resits
  • for medical reasons, for example you've had an illness that's stopped you attending college or university
  • for compassionate reasons, for example you've had a bereavement

Contact SAAS if you'd like to discuss using your 'plus one' year.

If you're receiving funding from the college or university, you'll need to ask if it's affected by repeating a year. For example, your Childcare Fund may be affected.

Health and wellbeing support

Student support services at your college or university can help you with problems that affect your mental or physical health.

Most universities provide counselling services for students who are struggling with mental health issues.

Taking time off due to illness

You'll need to decide if it's worth taking a year off from your studies if your illness is longer term. This can give you space to recover or manage your illness.

There are ways to get help with your finances if you're worried about money when you take a year off.

Getting advice and support

You can get advice and support out of hours from helplines like Nightline or websites like Think Positive.

Information from Scottish universities

Abertay UniversityEdinburgh Napier UniversityGlasgow Caledonian UniversityHeriot Watt UniversityRobert Gordon UniversityRoyal Conservatoire of ScotlandScotland's Rural CollegeUniversity of AberdeenUniversity of DundeeUniversity of EdinburghUniversity of GlasgowUniversity of the Highlands and IslandsUniversity of St AndrewsUniversity of StirlingUniversity of StrathclydeQueen Margaret University

Other types of support

Colleges and universities may be able to provide support with other types of issues including:

  • accommodation
  • complaints
  • legal

Speak to student support services – they'll advise you themselves or direct you to the people who can help you.


If you're working while studying you have the right to ask for flexible working hours.

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