Undergraduate Tuition Fee Grants

© Kallum Corke

Undergraduate Tuition Fee Grants are aimed at students required to pay tuition fees themselves due to prior study or their residency status.


The majority of the students we support attended university or college in the past but withdrew before completing their studies. Often this was the result of ill health, financial problems, or personal circumstances. Sometimes they just felt that their chosen course of study was not the right one for them. We also help a number of students who are seeking asylum in the UK.

Key Facts

Eligible students:Undergraduates, educated in Scotland and from a low income background
Eligible courses:Undergraduate degrees offered or validated by the Scottish universities, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland or Glasgow School of Art
Grant value:up to £1820 for the cost of tuition fees
Number of awards:about 200 each year
Online application portal opens:31st May 2019
Deadline for applications:2nd December 2019

This scheme supports students enrolled on an undergraduate degree course at a Scottish Institute of Higher Education who are not eligible for government funding for their tuition fees.

Our grants cover the cost of tuition fees, up to £1820 per year for a full-time degree course.

Applicants making a request for funding to the Carnegie Trust need to demonstrate that their financial circumstances do not allow them to cover the cost of their tuition fees.

To be considered for this grant you must:

  • Reside in Scotland at the time of applying and have completed at least two full years of secondary education in Scotland;
  • Be entitled to remain indefinitely in the UK; OR
    • if an immigrant with Limited Leave to Remain, hold a visa that is valid for the entire duration of the course; OR
    • be an asylum seeker;
  • Not be eligible for public funds (e.g. grants or loans) towards the cost of tuition fees, whether in Scotland, the UK or overseas;
  • Live in a low income household;
  • Not have already graduated with a university degree (see Course eligibility).


  • Applicants eligible for a SAAS/Student Loans Company maintenance loan are expected to take full advantage of the loans available to them.
  • If you are a part-time student in receipt of tuition fee support from SAAS and are not eligible for any other grants, bursaries or loans, you may apply if the amount awarded by SAAS is less than the total amount of fees payable.
  • Exceptionally, applications from students who already have a university degree level qualification may be considered at the discretion of the Trust. If you have graduated before, please contact the Trust to check your eligibility.

If you are not sure about your eligibility, contact us or ring us on 01383 724 990.

Eligible courses

When you apply you must:

  • Have an unconditional offer for a full-time, part-time or distance learning undergraduate degree course offered by one of the following institutions:
    • universities: Aberdeen, Abertay, Dundee, Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier, Glasgow, Glasgow Caledonian, Heriot-Watt, Highlands and Islands, Queen Margaret, Robert Gordon, St Andrews, Stirling, Strathclyde and West of Scotland;
    • the Glasgow School of Art;
    • the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland;


  • Have an unconditional offer for a full-time, part-time or distance learning undergraduate degree course validated by one of these universities but delivered at a different institution located in Scotland (for example: Scotland’s Rural College or an FE College that delivers degree level courses).

Excluded courses

The following courses or study paths are not eligible for support:

  • HNC and HND diploma courses
  • Access courses
  • Accelerated degree courses with a graduate entry
  • Courses delivered by, or at, a university outside Scotland
  • Courses at a Scottish Higher Education Institute delivered and validated by a university outside Scotland
  • Open University courses
  • Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses
  • University courses below degree level, e.g. Diploma or Certificate courses
  • Postgraduate degrees

The awards cover tuition fees only, up to a maximum of £1,820.

Undergraduate tuition fee grants are designed to help students who do not have the financial resources to attend university. When assessing applications, the following household income thresholds are used as a guide:

Household type Dependants Indicative Income Thresholds
Single person household No children £25,000
1 child £30,000
2 children £35,000
3 children £40,000
Per additional child 5,000 per additional child
Couple No children £30,000
1 child £35,000
2 children £40,000
3 children £45,000
Per additional child £5,000 per additional child


Applications are considered on a case-by-case basis. The Trust will take into account household income and other extenuating circumstances such as long term illness of the main earner, disabilities, being in local authority care, coming from a single parent family, redundancy etc. The Trust may require supporting evidence.

In 2017-18, the median household income of award-holders was £9,000 per year.

All applications are made online. The online portal is open from 31st May 2019 to 2nd December 2019 for academic year 2019-2020.

Before you apply, complete the eligibility checker to make sure you are eligible to apply. Based on your answers, if you appear to be eligible, the Apply now button will appear. Use this to access the online application form.

Note: the final outcome of your application will be determined by the information entered in your application and by the supporting evidence you provide.

Once you have submitted your complete application, you will receive an automatic reply confirming we have received it. You may need to check your spam folder for this email. If you do not receive this confirmation e-mail within 10 minutes, contact the Trust.


You will be notified of the outcome of your applications within two to three weeks, providing you have submitted all the requested information and your referee responds to our request for a reference in a timely fashion.

Once a decision has been reached, we will send an email to notify you of the outcome, using the address you listed on your application form.

Supporting evidence

The documents listed below should be uploaded with your application form.

Note: the Trust reserves the right to request further information from applicants to assess their situation.

If you are eligible for a SAAS/Student Loans Company maintenance loan you will need to upload:

  1. Letter of acceptance for your university course, including the course title, degree type and fee amount charged;
  2. SAAS award notice showing a) you are not eligible for tuition fee support and b) the amount of the maintenance loan awarded to you.

If you are not eligible for a SAAS/ Student Loans Company maintenance loan you will need to upload:

  1. Proof of Scottish residence for at least two years, for example your secondary school attendance record;
  2. Letter of acceptance for your university course, including the course title and fee amount charged;
  3. P60 (or equivalent document) for the tax year ending April 2019, or the last three pay slips for:
  • the applicant if over 25, as well as for the applicant’s spouse or partner (if cohabiting);
  • the applicant’s parents or guardian if 25 and under.

Acceptable formats for supporting evidence

The supporting evidence can be submitted in the following formats:

  • scanned copies;
  • images taken on a mobile if you do not have a scanner.

Note: there is a 5MB size limit on each file you submit online.

Currently being updated for academic year 2019-20.

Government schemes

Student Awards Agency for Scotland

Student Finance for the rest of the UK

Charitable Trusts

East Lothian Educational Trust

Esdaile Trust

Glasgow Society of the Sons and Daughters of Ministers of the Church of Scotland

The Highland Children’s Trust

ICAS Foundation (bursaries for students studying a Finance or Accounting related degree)

Institution of Civil Engineers

Institution of Mechanical Engineers

John Watson’s Trust

McGlashan Charitable Trust (for students studying music, other art studies, medicine, veterinary science, architecture, law, together with science and technology, aged 16 to 30 who were born in, or are studying or working in Scotland)

The Leverhulme Trade Charities Trust

Royal Caledonian Education Trust

Scottish Building Federation Edinburgh and District Charitable Trust (for students attending Heriot-Watt University or Edinburgh Napier University on courses relating to the building industry)

Scottish International Education Trust

Stirling Educational Trust

West Lothian Educational Trust

The Cross Trust

Professionals Aid Council

Award Timeline

31 May 2019Application portal opens for academic year 2019-2020
Within 2-3 weeks of applyingApplicants notified of outcome
2 December 2019, 5pmApplications close for academic year 2019-2020

Eligibility Checker

Please check all that apply

Check eligibility