Budgeting and additional support


Find out more finance information from other agencies below:

Budgeting content



Whether becoming a full time or part time student, you may find it useful to draft a monthly budget. This will help you to determine whether the method of study is appropriate to you and your family’s circumstances and help to ensure you are accessing all the funding available to you. You may find a Budget Planner helpful.

Being a full time student will have an effect on your finances because of the change in your income and the way you are paid. Also, you may be able to increase your income by taking a part-time job, getting help from the Childcare Funds, Hardship Funds or from a Trust and Foundation search. All of these can ease the cost of study.

Additionally, you may decide to use your personal savings and reduce costs by accessing a Student Bank/Building Society account which offer the benefits of discount schemes with National stores etc. as well as offering interest free overdrafts. You may also be able to rearrange any existing personal loan repayment terms to help reduce monthly bills.

While a student, you may be offered additional options such as Credit Cards and Store Cards, if you don’t already have them. These are very easy to use and are often used by students.  However, be aware that these are among the most expensive methods of spreading the payment of goods.

DWP Benefits and Independent Advice from CPAG content

DWP Benefits and Independent Advice from CPAG

DWP Benefits and Independent Advice from CPAG

The Benefits Agency does not provide financial support specifically for being a student.  Any entitlement to a benefit will be based on your non-student related circumstances.  However, should you receive financial assistance from any source while claiming a benefit, you must inform both the Benefits Agency and the funding body of the assistance you receive.  Use the contact information on your benefits account or letters to contact them about this.

Some students can continue to claim benefits while studying full time.

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
If you receive ESA, it is likely that you have been on this benefit for some time and we will consider you for support from FE Bursary Funds for study costs and travel costs only.  The FE Bursary Maintenance Allowance for your day to day living costs is not payable to ESA recipients.  ESA may entitle you and your family to other benefits such as Housing Benefit and you may be better off by continuing to claim ESA so that you continue to be eligible after your course ends.  If you cease an ESA claim to become a student, you are unlikely to be able to return to ESA and will be required to apply to Universal Credit after the course ends.

Universal Credit (UC)
If you receive UC, you can continue to claim this while you are a full time student if you are:

  • a parent of a child
  • severely disabled
  • a young person estranged from their parents
  • living with a non-student partner and making a joint claim for UC

If you are claiming UC, any funding above £110 per month for living costs will reduce your UC payments therefore the maximum Maintenance Allowance for living costs award you are eligible for from the FE Bursary is £28.00 per week.  Any study costs or travel costs payable should not affect your UC entitlement.  While in receipt of the £28 Maintenance Allowance you should not have any Work Related Requirements for UC.  We always recommend that you check this with UC.

Housing Benefit (HB) and Housing Element of UC
You may be eligible for HB as a full time student if you are in one of the following groups, please check with your local authority for the full, up to date criteria for Housing Benefit.  As benefit claimants are moved from a legacy benefit such as Income Support (IS), Job Seekers Allowance (JSA), Employment and Support Allowance, etc. to Universal Credit (UC) you may also move from HB to the Housing Element of UC.

Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG)
For a full list of who can qualify and what benefits are available to students in Scotland, Child Poverty Action Group publish a comprehensive handbook to benefits for students which you may find helpful.

Money Management Advice content

Money Management Advice

Money Management Advice

If you are worried about your finances in any way or have specific concerns about debt, however big or small, the local Moray Money Advice Partnership have trained Money Advisers who give free confidential advice and guidance.  They can help you look at your financial situation, help you to budget, give guidance on benefit entitlement, negotiate with your creditors, etc.

Check the Local Authority website under headings like Benefits, Grants, Walfare and Money Services for the support on offer.

Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefits and Exemptions content

Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefits and Exemptions

Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefits and Exemptions

The local authority for your area administers Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefits and Exemptions. Any enquiry regarding eligibility for either Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Benefit should be made to your Council’s Housing and Council Tax Departments. Check the Local Authority website under these headings for guidance and support.

When making an enquiry or application to your local council remember to check how long it will take them to process your application and advise you of the outcome. If it is a significant length of time, remember that you may need to make provision if your claim is unsuccessful.

Additionally, for a full list of who can qualify and what benefits are available to students in Scotland, Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) publish a comprehensive handbook to benefits for students which you may find helpful.

Discounts for students and student families on low income content

Discounts for students and student families on low income

Discounts for students and student families on low income

Student discount
As well as the bus and train companies, many shops and restaurants offer students discount on their goods and services.  Often all you need is your student card, but you may require a NUS (National Union of Students) card that you can get from Student Union. The Highlands and Islands Studentss Association (HISA) should be able to provide you with a list of participating organizations.

Power suppliers
Depending on your family’s circumstances you may qualify for a lower unit rate for the energy you use. Some energy companies offer households living on a low income a discounted rate.  Contact your energy provider to see if their scheme covers your circumstances or search online for cheaper deals using comparison sites, etc.

Free School Meals and Clothing Grant
Contact your children’s school or your Council’s Education Section for information on how to qualify and how to apply.

Other Funding Sources and Educational Trusts content

Other Funding Sources and Educational Trusts

Other Funding Sources and Educational Trusts

Educational trusts and endowments
Whether you are in receipt of mainstream funding for your chosen course or not, you may be able to access additional funds from a private trust. These schemes are varied in the support they offer and the qualifying criteria. 

Other funding sources

During your studies with us there are numerous scholarships, bursaries, awards, and discretionary funds available for FE and HE courses. Whether you have funding already from SAAS and the Student Loan Company or aren’t eligible for fees etc., you may be eligible for support through the following scholarships, grants, and bursaries. 

Local Authorities Grants and Bursaries Registers

Your local authority often administers or provides links to local charities and trusts that provide financial support to students. Check out the page for your local council.

The Carnegie Trust

This is one of the largest education trusts which offer support to students who are returning to HE studies and are required to cover the course fees yourself because of previous study. Some courses including HNC and HND courses don’t meet their criteria for support, but we recommend you check out their website for your circumstances: carnegie-trust.org

Employers & Industries

Alternatively, if you are employed in the industry you want to do further study in, your employer may be willing to help you with some of the costs through their own training provisions.

Enhanced Learning Credit Scheme content

Enhanced Learning Credit Scheme

Enhanced Learning Credit Scheme

We are an approved learning provider of the ELC scheme which is run by the MOD. The scheme allows serving members to apply for money to pay for qualifications. Applications can be made whether you’re still serving in the armed forces or you’ve already left.

If you’ve joined the ELC scheme you won’t need to pay for some qualifications such as certain:

  • Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs)
  • Diplomas
  • Highers

You may find it helpful to discuss funding with your local HM Forces Education team or browse the ELC website.

Health charges content

Health charges

Health charges

Generally, being a student does not entitle you to automatic discounts on prescription, optical, dental, wigs and fabric support charges, however other circumstances may mean you are entitled to free or discounted charges. 

Most Doctors, Dental Surgeries, Chemists, Benefits Offices or Post Offices can give you advice on what is available.  You will need to complete an HC1 application form and visit the NHS Help with Health Costs website for information.

NI Contributions, Income Tax and PAYE content

NI Contributions, Income Tax and PAYE

NI Contributions, Income Tax and PAYE

Bursary, EMA, Childcare, Hardship Fund awards, SAAS and Student Loans awards are non-taxable and not considered when your employer applies the scales for National Insurance Contributions (NICs) and tax code to your earned income.

If you have any queries check out the HM Revenue and Customs website.

Professional and Career Development Loans content

Professional and Career Development Loans

Professional and Career Development Loans

The Government manages Professional and Career Development Loans through a partnership with a number of High Street banks.  For further information visit the website Professional and Career Development Loans.