Funding for Further Education (FE) study


Funding for your further education course is available through the college’s online Student Support Funds application.  We use one form to assess your eligibility for EMA Allowances, Bursary Allowances for Living Costs, travel and study costs for books, uniform and equipment that you may need for the course and help with childcare costs and accommodation costs through the Childcare Fund and the Discretionary Hardship Fund.

What happens after I accept my offer? content

What happens after I accept my offer?

What happens after I accept my offer?

When you have accepted your unconditional offer of a place on your chosen course, we send you the details of how to access the application with login details for your online UHI Records account. 

Once you have completed your online funding application in your UHI Records account, you will be able to track its progress there and pick up any letters we send you about your award.  We do not send letters or reminders through the post, we only use your UHI Records account. Your UHI Records account will be your central point for your college life, offering you many services and tools including your funding.

If you have been made an award then the letter will tell you how much you have been awarded and when the payments will be. You will have a separate letter for each fund. 

There are also accompanying documents which tell you how we have calculated your award and any additional forms you might claim funds for:

We also have forms for you to complete should you want to change the bank account where your fund will be paid into.

If you have been awarded funds for childcare costs, then you will also need to submit a Childcare Expense Claim Form each week to get the payments (you do not need to do this for payments to the College Nursery).

You can also see a summary of all the fund payment dates and the status of each of your payments through your fund statements.  We recommend that you familiarize yourself with your UHI Records account as soon as you have access and check it regularly for updates.

EMA content



The EMA is an allowance of £30 per week available to students aged 16 - 17 years at the start of their course.  To qualify for the EMA your family income needs to be less than:

  • £24,421 where the student is the only dependent child in the family


  • £26,884 where there are other dependent children in the family either at school, College or University (these rates are correct at the time of publishing).

The payment of £30 is for each week of the course.  No payments are made for holiday weeks. The EMA is paid fortnightly in arrears.  

You may also be eligible for travel and study costs through the bursary fund. This is processed from the information you give on the Student Support Fund application and you will receive a separate award letter telling you what you will be paid. 

If you do not live with family and you receive Benefits such as Income Support on Hardship grounds you may qualify for the EMA to be paid in addition to your benefits.  If this applies to you payment of the EMA can be made beyond the age of 18, up until the age of 20 years.

FE Bursary content

FE Bursary

FE Bursary

The Further Education Bursary is available to students who have reached the age of 16 on or before the start date of the course, and consists of:

  • Living Costs Maintenance Allowance  for students aged 18 and over at the start of the course, (with rates for parentally supported students of £99.35 per week, Independent, Married/Partnered students of £125.55 per week or Care Experienced students of £225 per week). Students under 18 at the start of the course please see the EMA section above
  • Travel Allowance (for those living outwith Elgin)
  • Study Allowance (for books, equipment and uniforms)
  • Additional Support Needs Allowance (for assisted transport or specialised equipment on medical or disability grounds)
  • EMA Away From Home Allowance. If you are over 18 years at the start of the course these allowances take into account your and your family’s income (except the Additional Support Needs Allowance)

Living Cost Maintenance Allowance
This is dependent on your household income and has four weekly rates, £99.35 if you are under 25 living in your parents’ home, or £125.55 if you are under 25 and live in your own home at the start of the course.

If you are over 25 at the start of the course you will automatically be considered for the £125.55 rate.  Students under 18 at the start of the course please see the EMA section above.

The fourth rate is specifically for students who are Care Experienced of £225 per week.

Payment is normally made every two weeks in arrears.

The maximum weekly rates for different circumstances are:

Student circumstances on the course start dateLiving in parental homeLiving away from parental home or in own home
Under 18 Eligible for EMA of £30 £49.91
18 - 24 year olds assessed on parental income £99.35 £125.55
18 - 24 year olds providing evidence of self-supporting status £125.55 £125.55
25 years and over £125.55 £125.55
Care Experienced students regardless of age £225 £225

Self Supporting student under 25 at the start of the course
Some students may be considered self-supporting (financially independent from their parents) and therefore be assessed on their own income only. Students who are normally treated in this way are students who:

  • Both your parents are deceased
  • You have a child who is dependent on you (this could be your own child and you are a lone parent or a sister or brother you look after)
  • You are married or living with a partner
  • You have supported yourself for 3 or more years through employment or benefits

Some students may be eligible to continue to claim benefits such as Income Support or Employment and Support Allowance or Carers Allowance while studying full time and as a result will not be awarded the Maintenance Allowance but will still be considered for Travel Allowance and Study Allowance (details of these allowances below). 

The main groups which this applies to are:

  • Lone Parents in receipt of Income Support/Universal Credit which can also link it to Housing Benefit/Housing Element of Universal Credit and other related benefits.
  • Individuals with an ongoing medical condition or disability can continue to receive Employment and Support Allowance/Universal Credit which can also link it to Housing Benefit Housing Element of Universal Credit and other related benefits. 

Travel Allowance Awarded
Travel costs are considered at the rate of the most cost effective transport for your area per the sequence of tickets for the term. This is a requirement by the Scottish Funding Council who issue Student Support funds.

The cost of the tickets are totaled for the year and then divided over the term weeks to give an average weekly rate.

You are, of course, free to choose your own mode of travel, however you will be responsible for any additional costs because of this.

Study Allowance
This is an amount you need to spend on books, equipment and uniforms for you to be able to undertake the course. 

This may be paid to you directly or this may be paid to the department if they have decided to supply this to you direct. You will be told about this when your course application is being processed. 

It is normally paid as a single payment on the first payment date for your course.

Additional Support Needs Allowance
The Additional Support Needs Allowance (ASN) provides support for students, who by virtue of their disability, incur additional costs because of their attendance at College.  This can be travel costs because they need taxi transport to get to College or special equipment to help them with the study environment.  These funds are not means tested on family income but do require an assessment by the College’s Extended Learning Support Team.

EMA Away From Home Allowance (under 18 at the course start date)
This rate of £49.91 per week is paid if you are awarded an EMA Allowance and either you have an established home of your own or your parents live outwith a reasonable travelling distance to College.

Childcare Funds content

Childcare Funds

Childcare Funds

Applications for assistance from the Childcare Funds are made through your UHI Records account.

FE students apply for Childcare funding when applying for a Further Education Bursary, EMA, etc. If you wish to apply after you have already completed one of these applications, you should request a “Re-assessment/Appeal” through your Student Hub.

Childcare funds are limited, therefore you are encouraged to apply for your funding as early as possible as applications are awarded on a first come first served basis. 

What you need to know about childcare fund awards:

  • Payment will be made to students (except for College Nursery).
  • You must use Care Inspectorate registered formal childcare providers.
  • We will calculate your funded childcare on your timetabled classes, normally 3½ - 4 days per week.  If you choose to contract for more childcare hours per week, you will be responsible for all of the additional childcare costs.  Adjustments will be made for timetable changes and placements.
  • Childcare fund eligibility is means tested on your family income.  Only households with a family income of less than £60,000 (from the list of income sources below) will be considered for assistance.

We take the following income into consideration when applying the Contribution Rates:

  • Un/employment or Pension Income for your Partner (from P60)
  • Working Tax Credits (Tax Credit Award Notice)
  • Child Tax Credits (Tax Credit Award Notice)
  • Standard and Child Elements of Universal Credit allowance (Tax Credit Award Notice)
  • Other income such as Maintenance, Rental income, etc. (CSA/Solicitors letter, Tax Return, Bank Statement etc.)

We will not take the following income into consideration: 

  • Un/employment Income for you, the student
  • Student Bursary or Student Loans
  • Child Benefit

This provides for a maximum childcare fund award of up to £20,000 per student based on the full time, standard 36 term weeks (award will be adjusted on a pro rata basis per course) £8.93 per hour.

You must complete a Childcare Expense Claim for each week and for each child that attends a Nursery/Childcare provider. Download a Childcare Expense Claim Form or you can request a form from Student Services.

Childcare awards are for term weeks only. Childcare is not payable for College holidays or closure days unless as a result of severe weather conditions.

Childcare awards are payable for timetabled classes and reasonable travel between the childcare provider and college.  Students are normally timetabled for 3½ - 4 days per week. 

It is expected that parents will use the Government Funded Nursery provision for 2 to 5 year olds, where eligible (2 ½ hours per day). Maximum hours funded per week is 23 ½ hours.

Maximum hours funded per week is 36 hours for children not eligible for the 2 to 5 Government funded childcare places.

The College will pay these funds weekly, two weeks in arrears.  Please check the Childcare Expense Claim forms for the payment schedule.

Where your course is timetabled but the school is on holiday or has in-service days, your childcare award will be adjusted for the additional hours. 

Award payments are for the duration of the course (your letter will show a total award for the year but the adjustments mentioned above will be applied as and when they arise).  Payment will be released per your claim provided if it does not exceed the weekly average of your award.  If your claim is for more than the average you will be limited to the average amount to ensure you have funding for each week of the course.   

If you incur childcare costs before receiving a response from the Childcare Funds and you are not awarded funding, you will be liable to cover these costs yourself.

If your attendance on the course falls below the attendance requirement, payment of your childcare costs may be withheld.

Discretionary Hardship Funds content

Discretionary Hardship Funds

Discretionary Hardship Funds

Discretionary Hardship Funds

The Discretionary Hardship Fund is primarily aimed to help you with the cost of rent/mortgage where you or you and your spouse/partner are not entitled to Housing Benefit/Housing Element of Universal Credit and you do not have adequate funds. Priority is given to single and mature students.  Awards normally have a maximum amount payable of £4,000 per year.

The funds are paid two weeks in arrears. Please check your award letter and statement (available on the funding area of your UHI Records account) for details of dates and amounts.

To be considered for assistance you will need to;

  • have a tenancy in your name and
  • be registered at that address for council tax purposes.

Students who qualify for Council Tax Exemption still need to be registered at the property and provide a council tax statement.

The financial support for help with living costs for UHI student accommodation is subject to the same £97.56 weekly maximum award. Assistance for other forms of hardship will be considered upon application.

General Living Cost Support and Emergency/One off assistance

General Living cost support is normally provided through EMA weekly allowance, FE Bursary Maintenance Allowance for FE students and either SAAS Bursaries or Student Loan for HE students.  However, in recent years COVID and the initial Cost of Living Crisis has resulted in the College being able to use the Discretionary Hardship Fund and additional funding allocations for the immediate impact of these unforeseen circumstances.  We aim to help you through the rent/mortgage support for single students mentioned above.  It is anticipated that if you are living in a family home, your family will have access to additional living cost support through benefits allowances if your household has a low income.  It is anticipated that where possible you will take up employment opportunities to maximise your income before an application for additional living cost support would be considered.

Applications for Emergency/one off assistance from the Discretionary Hardship Fund, can be made through the Funding area of your UHI Records account using the Appeals/Re-assessment Request option and should include the following information before the application is considered.

Please be aware that applications for Emergency/one off assistance refers to the type of issue you are facing and does not mean that funds can be made available immediately. 

Your application should include:

  • a full description of the financial difficulties you face and why you cannot meet these costs from your own funds
  • two recent and consecutive months bank statements for you and partner (if partnered)
  • an Income and Expenditure declaration (UHIFEC4 form available on the useful documents page of your UHI Records account)
  • three months recent and consecutive pay slips for student and partner (if partnered)
  • documentation showing you have applied for and been refused other appropriate funding, such as your local authority’s Welfare Fund or Key Fund

Where your application does not include these details, this will lengthen the time it will take to be considered.

In some circumstances, an application may be considered by the Discretionary Hardship Panel. The panel will normally consider assistance where the need exceeds £500.

The Panel will meet as applications require, subject to staff availability. You will be notified about the outcome of the Panel’s decision through the Letters page in the funding area of your UHI Records account.