Helping you meet the costs of learning: funding for disabled students

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1 Helping you meet the costs of learning: funding for disabled students

2 Contents 2 Introduction 3 Staying at school 4 Going to college or university: eligibility for funding 4 - Do you meet the country of residence conditions to get funding 5 - Are you a Further or Higher Education learner? 5 - Are you a full-time or part-time learner? 6 Funding for Further Education courses 6 - Quick guide 7 - Full-time learning 11 - Part-time learning 13 - Specialist Further Education outside Scotland 14 - Frequently asked questions 15 Funding for Higher Education courses 15 - Quick Guide 16 - Full-time learning 23 - Part-time learning 25 - Frequently asked questions 26 Postgraduate courses 28 Adult/Community learning 29 Other disability-related support 31 Other sources of funding 33 Welfare benefits and tax credits 42 How student support affects your eligibility for welfare benefits 44 How your income affects the amount of student support you might receive 46 How your Parents or partner s income is treated 50 Useful publications and further information 1

3 Introduction This guide gives an overview of the funding available from August 2013 for disabled learners, and is useful to practitioners giving advice to others. The booklet uses the term disabled learners to refer to learners with a wide range of impairments, such as those who have sensory impairments, physical impairments, mental health difficulties, dyslexia, autistic spectrum disorders, medical conditions, learning disabilities, etc. This booklet provides information about the different types of financial support that is available to disabled learners, including general financial support and funding specifically available for disabled people. It also summarises information about getting welfare benefits as a disabled student. You can also get further information about financial support for learners from the booklet: Helping you meet the costs of learning: your guide to funding For further information about support for disabled learners at college or university, see the following Scottish Government Partnership Matters booklets: Supporting You at College: A guide for young people with additional support needs in Scotland s colleges Supporting You at University: A guide for young people with additional support needs in Scotland s universities 2

4 Staying at school If you want to stay on at school after your school leaving date, you may be eligible for an Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) of 30 per week during term time. There are two school leaving dates in a year your earliest leaving date depends on when you turn 16. EMAs can be paid for up to 4 years for students with additional support needs. To qualify for an EMA, you must: be aged between 16 and 19 years old; have a family income of less than 20,351 if you are the only dependent young person in the household (or an income of less than 22,403 if there are more than one dependent young people in the household); meet the residence criteria and; be studying a valid course of education More information on EMAs is available from your school, college or local authority, and also from the website As a disabled person at school, you have the right to have adjustments made and additional support provided if this is what you need in order to learn. If you would like more information about this, contact Enquire: the Scottish Advice Service for Additional Support for Learning on Tel: am 4.30pm Monday - Friday website: 3

5 Going to college or university: eligibility for funding Do you meet the residence conditions to get funding? To be eligible to apply for some funding you must meet certain residence conditions. If you have not lived outside the UK (apart from temporary or occasional absences) you are likely to meet the residence conditions. The residence requirements for UK nationals are as follows: (i) You must be ordinarily resident in Scotland on the first day of the first academic year of the course. In Further Education, this will be the start date of your course. In Higher Education, you must be ordinarily resident on the following dates: 1 August 2013 for courses that start between 1 August 2013 and 31 December January 2014 for courses that start between 1 January 2014 and 31 March April 2014 for courses that start between 1 April 2014 and 30 June July 2014 for courses that start between 1 July 2014 and 31 July (ii) UK nationals must also have been ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for the three-year period immediately before the start of the course. There are different rules for asylum seekers, refugees, migrant workers, EU nationals and UK nationals who have been living in the EU. What does ordinarily resident in Scotland mean? The courts have defined ordinary residence as habitual and normal residence in one place. This means that you, your parents, or your husband, wife or civil partner live in a country year after year by choice throughout a set period. This allows for temporary or occasional absences such as holidays or business trips and may cover you if you or your family were temporarily employed abroad. In most cases you may not be treated as ordinarily resident in Scotland if your main purpose in coming here is to study and you would normally be living somewhere else. Getting advice about residence conditions If you are not sure whether you meet the residence conditions, you should contact your local college (for further education courses) or the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) (for higher education courses). 4

6 Going to college or university: eligibility for funding Are you a Further or Higher Education learner? There are different kinds of financial support available for courses at college or university, depending on whether you are taking a further education or a higher education course. Higher Education courses are those which are at Higher National Certificate level or above (that is Scottish Credit and Qualification Framework level 7 or above). They can be taken at college or at university and include: an undergraduate honours degree. an undergraduate ordinary degree. a Higher National Certificate (HNC) or Higher National Diploma (HND). Certificates/Diplomas of Higher Education. Graduate Certificates/Diplomas. Further Education courses are those which are not taught in a school and are below Higher National Certificate (HNC) level. They cover levels 1-6 on the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) and include: academic courses (e.g. Intermediate courses, Highers). courses that do not lead to formal qualifications, such as independent living skills courses. basic skills courses, such as literacy and numeracy, and access courses (at Access levels 1, 2 and 3). work-related courses, such as Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs). Are you a full-time or part-time learner? You can get different kinds of financial help depending on whether your course is full-time or part-time. If you are not sure about this, ask your college or university for further advice. Any extra tuition or support that you receive due to your disability does not count towards the hours of your course. 5

7 Funding for Further Education courses Quick guide Type of funding Full-time learning Part-time learning Course fees Course fees paid (p7) Fees may be paid if you meet certain conditions (p11) Funding through the SDS Individual Learning Account programme may be available for some students (p7) Funding through the SDS Individual Learning Account programme may be available for some students (p11) Living costs Maintenance bursary (p7) Education Maintenance Allowance (p3, 7) Maintenance bursaries may be available at college s discretion (p12) Disability-related costs Additional Support Needs for Learning Allowance (p8) Additional Support Needs for Learning Allowance (p8) Travel costs Study costs Help for dependents Funding may be available from the college or your local social work department (p8) Funding may be available from the college (p9) Dependents Allowance (p10) Childcare funds (p10) Child Tax Credits (p44) Funding may be available from the college or your local social work department (p8,12) Funding may be available from the college (p12) Dependents Allowance (p12) Childcare funds(p12) Child Tax Credits (p44) Other support Discretionary funds (p10) Discretionary funds (p12) Professional and Career Development Loans (p35) Charitable trusts (p35) Professional and Career Development Loans (p35) Charitable trusts (p35) 6

8 Full-time Further Education Course fees Fee waivers You do not need to pay any fees for full-time Further Education courses at college in Scotland, as long as you meet the residence conditions (see page 4). SDS Individual Learning Accounts (ILAs) SDS ILA funding is targeted at low paid, low skilled and unemployed individuals who are not already engaged in Scottish Government funded learning or training. Eligible individuals can access up to 200 each year to fund a wide range of courses which may help them move towards and into work or to progress within existing employment. For more information on the full eligibility criteria, and the courses which ILA can be used to support, visit or call SDS on Living costs Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) If you are a school leaver going to college you may be able to apply for an EMA (see page 3 for details). Maintenance Bursary You can apply to your college for a non-repayable bursary of up to per week, but the amount you might get will depend on your age, whether you live with your parents, and your household income. The basic allowance per week is as follows: Students aged under 18* Parentalsupported students aged 18 to 25 Income thresholds Living at parental home Living away from parental home 20,351 nil (this allowance may be paid in addition to an EMA) Selfsupporting** Not applicable 24, Not applicable Self-supporting students** 20,643 Not applicable Not applicable * This allowance is for students who are aged under 18 but do not meet the criteria for EMA. ** Students aged 25 or over on the course start date, or students under 25 who are either married, have no living parents, have a dependent child, or have supported themselves for more than three years. 7

9 Full-time Further Education Disability-related costs Additional Support Needs for Learning Allowance If you have extra study or travel costs at college as a result of your disability or additional support needs, you can apply for an Additional Support Needs for Learning Allowance. For example, you may need to buy additional software for a computer, you may need Braille paper, or have extra photocopying charges. You can also apply for extra rent costs you have because of your disability, if you do not receive help with these costs from any other agency. It is important to note that some types of study support and equipment will be provided directly by the college without you having to apply for any allowance, so it is always best to speak to college support staff before applying. This allowance is not income assessed, and the college decides the amount that you can receive. To apply for this allowance, your college may ask you to undertake a needs-led assessment to find out what support you might need. For further information about these assessments and the kind of support you might receive, see the Scottish Government booklet Supporting You at College: A guide for young people with additional support needs in Scotland s colleges. Travel costs Travel expense allowance Students can apply for a travel expenses allowance for travelling to college, depending on college criteria. This allowance is income assessed unless you are under 18. You should apply to your college for this allowance. Additional Support Needs for Learning Allowance You may be able to apply for this allowance if you have extra travel costs because of your disability, e.g. if you need to travel by taxi rather than bus, or you cannot walk a short distance to college. However, if you receive the mobility component of the Disability Living Allowance (DLA), then you will be expected to use this to provide you with transport to and from the college. You should apply to your college for this allowance. Other funding If you are unable to get funding from the college to pay for your travel costs if you have a disability, and you do not receive the mobility component of DLA, you may be able to get funding from your local social work department. 8

10 Full-time Further Education Study costs You may be eligible for an allowance to cover certain study costs such as: items that are essential to the course (such as essential texts but not additional reading). items that are required for health and safety reasons. mandatory study trips. If you are aged under 18, this allowance is not income assessed. Kate is unsure about what support she will need Kate is about to leave school and she wants to do a full-time course in childcare at her local college. She will not have to pay any fees for the course and she can apply for a maintenance bursary (as she is 18 and living at home). She can also get a study expenses allowance to help with buying a required textbook for the course. Kate has dyslexia and is unsure about the kinds of assistance that she might need to do her college course. She arranges to meet with the college s Student Support Coordinator to discuss what additional support she will need. Amongst other aspects of support, the college agrees to provide class handouts on yellow paper, and to provide a scribe in exams. In addition, Kate applies for the Additional Support Needs for Learning Allowance to buy a laptop computer with assistive software. Help for dependents Childcare costs Some assistance with covering the costs of registered childcare may be available from the college. However it is important to note that most colleges have limited budgets for childcare. Priority is usually given to mature or part-time students, and lone parents, but this does not exclude full-time students from applying. Some colleges may offer different methods of childcare support and provision within the college, for example, on-site nurseries or childcare vouchers. Dependents Allowance You may be able to apply for a Dependants Allowance of per week if you have financial, care or legal responsibility for an adult. This is income assessed and the dependant s income will be taken into account. 9

11 Full-time Further Education Additional help Discretionary Funds Every college operates a Discretionary Fund and students with particular financial difficulties or emergency needs can apply for assistance. Discretionary Funds are specifically targeted to help students who have financial difficulties that might prevent them gaining access to education, or continuing their course. Colleges also have discretion to provide payments from the Discretionary Funds to students who are moving from the benefit system to take a course. Other sources of funding Students taking further education courses may be able to access other sources of funding outwith the financial support you might get at college. See page 34 of this booklet for more information. You can also get information about welfare benefits on page

12 Part-time Further Education Course fees Fee waivers Most students studying part-time Further Education courses will have to pay tuition fees. However, you do not pay tuition fees on part-time courses if your course is specifically for people with learning difficulties or disabilities (ask your college if you are not sure if this applies to your course). In addition, you do not usually need to pay course fees for eligible courses if you meet any of the criteria below: You or anyone in your family receive any of the following: o Income Support. o Working Tax Credit. o Pension Credit. o Housing Benefit. o Income-based Job Seekers Allowance. o Income-related Employment and Support Allowance. Or, you receive any of the following: o Disability Living Allowance. o Carer s Allowance (or carers who have an underlying entitlement to Carer s Allowance). o Incapacity Benefit (or contributory Employment and Support Allowance for new claimants since October 2008). o Severe Disablement Allowance. o Attendance Allowance. Or, you can provide evidence to the college that your family s taxable income in the previous tax year is the same or lower than the following amounts: o 8,282 if one person in the household. o 12,395 if a household with one couple and no children. o 18,977 if household includes dependent children. Or, you are an asylum seeker, or the spouse or child of an asylum seeker. Or, you are in the care of a local authority and are living in a foster home, or children s home. SDS ILAs SDS ILA funding is targeted at low paid, low skilled and unemployed individuals who are not already engaged in Scottish Government funded learning or training. Eligible individuals can access up to 200 each year to fund a wide range of courses which may help them move towards and into work or to progress within existing employment. 11

13 As discussed on page 7, further information on the full eligibility criteria and the courses which ILA can be used to support can be found at or by calling SDS on

14 Part-time Further Education Living costs Bursary grants are not usually available for part-time students, but this decision is at the college s discretion. If both you and the course are eligible for support then the college can still consider you for an award. This award is income assessed. If you are awarded a bursary, the amount given would be proportionate to the hours you attend college each week. Disability-related costs Part-time disabled students who have extra costs arising from their additional support needs or disability whilst at college can apply for the Additional Support Needs for Learning Allowance (see page 8). Travel costs Part-time disabled students are eligible for the same financial support for travel costs as full-time students. See page 8 for details. Study costs Some help with study costs may be available ask your college for details. Costs of supporting a dependent Childcare costs Part-time students are one of the priority groups for help from the college with childcare costs - ask your college for details. Dependant s Allowance The college can use its discretion to offer part-time students support for a dependant if you have financial, care or legal responsibility for an adult. This is income assessed and the dependant s income will be taken into account. Additional help Discretionary Funds Part-time students may be able to get some financial help from Discretionary Funds (see page 10) ask your college for details. Other sources of funding Students taking further education courses may be able to access other sources of funding outwith the financial support you might get at college. See page 35 of this booklet for more information. You can also get information about welfare benefits on page

15 Specialist Further Education outside Scotland Colleges in Scotland provide a broad range of general and vocational courses, including specialist courses for people who have additional support needs. Students with disabilities have a right to reasonable provision of additional support, services or equipment that they need, so that they are not disadvantaged compared to non-disabled students. Funding for specialist further education All the financial support for further education students that is detailed in this booklet is only available if you are studying at a college within Scotland. However, it may be that because of your disability or support needs, you may be unable to find further education provision within Scotland that is right for you. Some people therefore choose to attend one of a number of residential specialist colleges elsewhere in the UK. Local authorities have the power to pay bursaries to students studying outwith Scotland, but this is at their discretion. If you want or need to attend specialist further education outside Scotland, you should ask your local social work department for an assessment of your needs that takes into account any help you need in order to access appropriate education. Ask your local authority education department for details of local funding arrangements for specialist placements. You might also want to consider applying to grant-making trusts for funding to attend a specialist course. Further information You can find further information about specialist residential colleges from the Association of National Specialist Colleges (see This website also includes a directory of specialist colleges in the UK, including information on how to apply to them. 14

16 Further Education: frequently asked questions Can I get my tuition fees paid if I have been to college before? You can get your course fees paid on a full-time Further Education course even if you have studied at college before. Can I get a bursary if I have been to college before? If a college has previously given you bursary support for study and/or you have an existing HND qualification or above, you will not usually be able to receive bursary support again. However, if you have not received support for more than 3 full years of a course in the last 6 years, and one of the following conditions applies, you may still be eligible for further bursary support: you have not had bursary support within the last 4 years, or you have not had bursary support within the last 2 years and were a jobseeker for more than 3 months immediately before your course starts, or the course you previously completed enabled you to progress on to take your current course. If you did not complete and/or failed a course for medical or compassionate reasons, you should inform the college of the circumstances, together with a doctor s certificate in medical cases. The college may be able to provide further bursary support in these circumstances. If you have taken longer to complete a course for disability-related reasons, you may be able to get extended bursary support if you can provide supporting evidence ask your college for information. How do I pay for disability-related costs that are not related to my course? Whereas the college is responsible for providing educational support, it is generally the responsibility of your local social work department to pay for any personal care support which you may require at college. If you have been assessed as having a healthcare support need, your local health board will be responsible for providing that support. You can get more information about the support you can expect from different agencies in the Scottish Government booklet Supporting You at College: A guide for young people with additional support needs in Scotland s colleges. Supporting You at College: A guide for young people with additional support needs in Scotland s colleges. You might also be eligible for welfare benefits or tax credits (see page 36). Can I get a bursary if I am receiving welfare benefits to cover living costs? Many welfare benefits do not affect your eligibility for a bursary. However, you cannot get a bursary if you are receiving certain income replacement benefits (this includes Incapacity Benefit and the Employment and Support Allowance). For a full list of benefits which are taken into account in student income assessment, see page

17 Funding for Higher Education courses Quick guide Type of funding Full-time learning Part-time learning Course fees Course fees paid (p 16) Fees may be paid if you meet certain conditions (p24) Living costs Student loan (p16) Young Students Bursary (p16) Independent Students Bursary (p 17) Part-time fee grant will be pro rata on the number of SCQF credits you study. We will scale this down based on the maximum fee levels we award to full-time students. (p25) Disability-related costs Travel costs Disabled Students Allowance (p18) Funding may be available from SAAS or your local social work department (p21) Disabled Students Allowance (if studying at least 50% of a full-time course (p25) Funding may be available your institution s discretionary funds or your local social work department (p25) Help for dependents Lone Parents Grant (p22) Funding for childcare costs may be available from your institution s discretionary funds (p26) Childcare Funds (p22) Child Tax Credits (p43) Other support Adult Dependents Grant (p22) Child Tax Credits (p43) Professional and Career Development Loans (p34) Discretionary funds (p23) Charitable trusts (p34) Vacation Grant for Care Leavers (p23) Professional and Career Development Loans (p34) Discretionary funds (p23) Charitable trusts (p34) 16

18 Full-time Higher Education Course fees The Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) will pay tuition fees for all eligible Scottish domiciled and European Union students, studying a Higher Education course at college or university in Scotland. You must still apply to SAAS for payment of tuition fees even if you are not applying for any other support. You should check the SAAS website to see if you and your course are eligible to apply for support. From September 2006 institutions in England, Wales and Northern Ireland introduced variable tuition fees. If you live in Scotland but are studying a full-time Higher Education course elsewhere in the UK, you will have to pay tuition fees of up to 9,000 per year. You can apply to SAAS for a loan to cover the costs regardless of your income. You repay your loan only after you have finished your course and start earning over 16,910 per year. Living costs Student Loans The main source of help with living costs is through a student loan. The maximum loans amounts are: 6,500 per year if you are an Independent Student. 5,500 per year if you are a Young Student. Young Students Bursary Some full-time students under 25 years old may qualify for a Young Students Bursary (an income-assessed, non-repayable grant). You can claim this bursary if: you are eligible for help with your tuition fees and you are studying in Scotland; and you are not married, in a civil partnership, or live with a partner (unless you have a dependent child); and you have not supported yourself from your earnings or benefits for any three years before the first day of your course. The maximum bursary of 1,750 a year will be paid to you if your family income is under 16,999 a year. The amount of bursary will taper down to zero if your family income is over 34,000 a year. Independent Students Bursary This is a non-repayable bursary of up to 750 per year for independent students with an annual household income of up to 16,999. If you have done a higher education course before you may not receive this bursary for some or all of your course. 17

19 Full-time Higher Education Subject-specific funding arrangements Students on certain courses will have different funding arrangements for course fees and living costs: Degrees in Dentistry and Medicine: the support package will be the same as students in years 1 to 4. In years 5 and later, you are entitled to free tuition, an income-assessed Scottish Government Health Department Bursary, and a non income-assessed student loan. Additional support may also be available depending on which university you attend. You may be eligible to apply for an additional bursary from year 2 of your Dentistry degree if you intend working with NHS Scotland after you graduate. Nursing and Midwifery courses: support consists of a non-repayable bursary, an initial expenses allowance, expenses for clinical placements, and other supplementary grants. For more information, contact the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS). Disability-related costs Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) If you have a disability, you may be able to get extra funding from the Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA). This allowance is intended to cover any extra costs or expenses you have while you are studying, which arise because of your disability. DSA is not income assessed, and the amount you can get depends on what your needs are. DSA is not intended to pay for: disability-related costs that you would have whether you were a student or not. study costs that every student might have. DSA is made up of three parts: (i) Large items of equipment allowance This allowance is for items of specialist equipment you need to participate in your course. For example, you may need adaptive technology, a tape recorder, specialist furniture or a radio microphone, etc. You can also use this allowance to pay for any approved repairs or insurance for the equipment, as well as initial training in how to use it. The maximum amount available is 5,160 for the whole of your course of study (not per year). Any equipment bought with the allowance belongs to you and you do not have return it when you finish your course. However, in certain circumstances, SAAS may ask you to lease rather than buy a major item of equipment if this would be more economical or beneficial (for example, if you only need equipment for a short period of time or if you are near the end of your course). The allowance can be paid at any time during your studies, as long as the total payments do not go over the maximum. You may be asked to produce an estimate or quotation of the cost of the equipment before the allowance will be paid. 18

20 Full-time Higher Education To fully benefit from any equipment you receive through your DSA allowance, your college or university may recommend that you undertake training on using the equipment. This will involve discussing your specific training needs during your DSA needs assessment and, if necessary, an agreement relating to training between you and your college or university will be drawn up. (ii) Non-medical personal helpers (NMPH) allowance This allowance is for any course-related personal assistance you need in order to benefit fully from your course. For example, you can apply for the costs of sign language interpreters, readers or a mobility enabler. DSA does not meet the cost of extra academic tuition, however if you need specialist tutorial support that is specifically related to your disability, for example study skills support for dyslexic students, you may be able to claim the costs from this allowance. DSA does not pay for help that you would need whether you were a student or not, such as assistance to meet your daily living needs. Full-time higher education As payments are usually for helpers wages or costs, they are usually made in regular instalments, and can be paid to you or your institution. We will not pay your helper direct. The way in which you get your assistance will depend upon the institution you attend and what suits you best. The maximum amount available for each year of your course is 20,520. Many institutions have staff who are specifically employed to support disabled students. There are many advantages of using support workers who are employed by the institution. The institution takes responsibility for recruiting and managing the support worker and for paying them. If the support worker is absent or is not suitable, the institution will make arrangements to replace them. For more information, please see the Scottish Government information booklet Arranging Support Workers in Higher Education: a guide for students requiring course-related, (iii) Basic allowance This allowance is intended to cover any costs related to disability and study that are not covered by the other specific allowances. The maximum amount is 1,725 per year. For example, this allowance can pay for extra books or photocopying if you are unable to study for long periods in the library, extra costs of medically-certified special dietary needs over and above your normal costs, tapes and disks that you need for your work. It can also be used to top up one of the other allowances. Applying for DSA You can get an application form for DSA from SAAS or your institution. Once you have been accepted on the course and you have a SAAS student reference number, you can then apply for DSA. 19

21 Full-time Higher Education To apply for DSA you need to provide evidence of your disability to SAAS. This is usually a letter from your GP, a report from an educational psychologist (for example, if you have dyslexia) or a report from another relevant organisation. The application form asks you about the additional costs which you will have due to your disability. You should arrange to meet the Disability Adviser/support staff in your college or university. They can discuss with you about the nature of your course and about the different kinds of possible support. They can also tell you about the equipment and services that they can provide directly, so that you are clear about what you need from DSA. Someone from your university/college needs to sign the DSA form before you send it to SAAS. You will be asked to have an assessment of your needs. This assessment can be done by most universities or colleges, or by an Access Centre. The assessment looks at how your disability affects you and what support you require to help you complete your studies on a level playing field with your peers. It will identify needs that can be paid for via the DSA, as well as support that your university or college can provide. This assessment can be quite helpful for you as the assessor may be aware of solutions that you had not tried before, and will also take into account the Higher Education environment, which might be new to you. SAAS will provide you with full information about how to arrange this assessment and will pay for it. If DSA does not meet all your disability-related costs, your university or college has responsibilities under the law to make adjustments, or you could consider applying to trusts (see page 35). Jenni gets assistance with disability-related costs Jenni is going to do an honours degree in history and politics. She has accepted a place at university and has applied to SAAS to get her tuition fees paid and to get the Young Students Bursary and student loan. Jenni is visually impaired and will have extra disability-related costs whilst studying. Jenni approaches the Disability Adviser at her university who explains the process of applying for DSA. The Disability Adviser carries out a needs assessment which identifies what support Jenni needs, what the university can provide and what additional support is needed to be paid for by DSA. Jenni agrees with the Disability Adviser s recommendations, the form is signed and sent to SAAS. SAAS agrees to cover all the disability-related costs identified by the needs assessment. Dealing with any problems with your DSA application If you are unhappy with the outcomes of your DSA application or needs assessment, you should discuss the issue with your college or university in the first instance. If you are still not satisfied after doing this, you might want to consider making an appeal. The stages for making an appeal are as follows: 20

22 Full-time Higher Education Stage 1: Appeal to your college or university s Disability Service (or whoever was responsible for carrying out your needs assessment). Each disability/student services department will have its own appeals process which you will be able to find out about by contacting the service. If you are still not satisfied, progress to stage 2: Stage 2: Appeal to the college or university directly. Such appeals should normally be addressed to the Principal, or whoever has overall responsibility for quality assurance. All colleges and universities have appeals/complaints procedures, and you can get information about this by contacting a student services adviser, or you may be able to get information on the college or university s website. If you are still not satisfied, progress to stage 3: Stage 3: Appeal to the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS). This should be addressed to the SAAS policy team, who will review the assessment decision, and may (if this is thought to be appropriate), arrange for a second assessment to be carried out by another agency such as an Access Centre. SAAS will respond to your initial appeal within 14 days of contacting them. If you are still not satisfied, progress to stage 4: Stage 4: Final appeal to SAAS. This should be addressed to the Chief Executive, who will carry out an independent review of your case. You should receive a response from SAAS within 14 days. If you are still not satisfied, progress to stage 5: Stage 5: Appeal to the Scottish Public Service Ombudsman (SPSO). The SPSO carries out independent reviews of complaints about certain public bodies, which includes SAAS and education providers. You should appeal to the SPSO within one year of the matter taking place. The ombudsman will only investigate complaints of maladministration. You can get information about this process from the SPSO website at 21

23 Full-time Higher Education Travel costs SAAS will not normally pay travel expenses. However, disabled students who cannot use public transport may still be able to get help towards travel costs if they have to pay extra costs as a result of their disability, e.g. if you need to travel by taxi rather than bus, or you cannot walk a short distance. If this is the case, you should apply to SAAS for the full amount of your travel costs, (preferably at the same time as you apply for any Disabled Students Allowance) and your income will not be taken into account. You will need to provide SAAS with evidence that you cannot use public transport for disability-related reasons (if you have not already done so for your DSA application), and give details of the additional costs with competitive estimates where possible. If you are unable to get funding from SAAS to pay for your travel costs if you have a disability, you may be able to get funding from your local social work department. Ola needs assistance with travel costs Ola has mobility difficulties and he cannot use public transport. He lives in a flat that is about 3 miles from the university so he needs help with travel costs for getting to his classes each day. When Ola is applying for Disabled Students Allowance (DSA), he includes a letter from his doctor that says that he cannot walk far and needs to travel by car. He gets quotes from three taxi firms for the cost of the return journey to university each day. He sends these quotes together with a short letter explaining his application, to the Students Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS). Ola has to pay the first 159 for travel out of his student loan, and SAAS pays for the rest of the taxi costs. Help for dependants The following are not loans and do not need to be paid back. Lone Parents Grant There are special provisions for widowed, divorced, separated or single students bringing up children. If you have at least one dependant child, you can claim this grant which is income assessed. The most you can claim is 1,305 a year. Childcare fund In addition to the above, Scottish Ministers also provide childcare funds to Scottish publicly-funded institutions to help all students with the costs of registered or formal childcare. This includes childminders, after school clubs, day care, sitter services and providers of pre-school and education. 22

24 Full-time Higher Education Eligible lone parent students with formal registered childcare costs can apply for an entitlement of up to 1,215 from this fund. Further support may also be available, however this fund is administered by institutions and they have responsibility for deciding which payments should be made to students. You should apply directly to your institution for support. Please note, not all eligible students will receive help, as the fund is limited. Adult Dependants Grant You can claim this income-assessed grant for your husband, wife, partner or civil partner. The maximum amount payable is 2,640 a year. You cannot claim this grant if the person you are claiming for also receives student support. Additional Help Discretionary funds Students who are experiencing particular financial difficulty can apply for assistance from their institution's discretionary funds. These funds are specifically targeted to help students who have financial difficulties. Your college or university is responsible for deciding who gets help and how much. You must have taken out your full student loan entitlement before you can receive this help. Care Leavers Grant A grant from SAAS of up to 105 a week is available to help students who were previously in care with accommodation costs during the summer vacation. Other sources of funding Students taking further education courses may be able to access other sources of funding outwith the financial support you might get at college. See page 35 of this booklet for more information. You can also get information about welfare benefits on page

25 Part-time Higher Education Part-time Fee Grant (formerly ILA 500) Part-time higher education students, including those studying by distance learning, may be eligible for a non-repayable grant. The level of tuition fee will be pro-rata on the number of SCQF credits the student takes. We will scale this down based on the maximum fee levels we award to full-time students (120 credits). The maximum Part-time Fee Grant we can award will be: 1805 for publicly funded degree level courses for publicly funded Higher National awards (HNC/HND) for all courses at private providers. To qualify, you must be studying between SCQF credits (you can get more information about SCQF credits at and have an annual individual income of 25,000 or less. If you are studying less than 30 SCQF credits, you may be eligible for the ILA 200 grant. To qualify for this grant of 200 per year, you must be aged 16 or over and have an individual income of 22,000 or less. The part-time fee grant is available through SAAS, and will be paid directly to your college or university on your behalf. To find out more, speak to your college or university or look at the SAAS website. ILA 200 is available from Skills Development Scotland. Disability-related costs Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) If you are studying part-time and the course is equivalent to at least 50% of a fulltime course (or at least 60 credit points for distance learning degrees), you may be able to apply for the Disabled Students Allowance (DSA). The maximum amount you can receive for both the basic allowance and non-medical personal help elements of DSA is in proportion to a full-time course e.g. if you study for half a week, the maximum amount you can receive is 50% of these allowances. However, the maximum amount for the allowance for large items of equipment is the same as for full-time students. If DSA does not meet all your disability-related costs, your university or college has responsibilities to make adjustments under the Equality Act, or you could consider applying to charitable trusts (see page 35). Travel costs You may be eligible for support from SAAS if you have extra travel costs because of your disability, for example, you may need to travel by taxi rather than bus, or you cannot walk a short distance. If this is the case, you should apply to SAAS for the 24

26 full amount of your travel costs, (preferably at the same time as you apply for any Disabled Students Allowance) and your income will not be taken into account. You will need to provide SAAS with evidence that you cannot use public transport for disability-related reasons (if you have not already done so for your DSA application), and give details of the additional costs with competitive estimates where possible. If you are unable to get funding from SAAS to pay for your travel costs if you have a disability, you may be able to get funding from your local social work department. Help for dependents Dependents grants which are available for full-time higher education students are not available for students taking part-time courses. You may be able to access support from your college or university s Discretionary Funds or through Child Tax Credits (see page 44). Additional Help Discretionary Funds If you are experiencing particular financial difficulty you can apply for help from your institution s Discretionary Fund. This can be used to pay for study, travel and childcare costs, as well as general living costs. Other sources of funding Students taking higher education courses may be able to access other sources of funding outwith the financial support you might get at college. See page 35 of this booklet for more information. You can also get information about welfare benefits on page

27 Higher Education: Frequently Asked Questions Can I still get funding if I have done a higher education course before? If you have to repeat/extend a period of study or you are doing a second course of higher education, SAAS may limit your entitlement to fees and a bursary. However, they may not do this if you need to repeat/extend a period of study or retrain because of illness or your disability. You should provide SAAS with supporting information, where relevant, from your institution and your doctor. Can I apply for a student loan if I have received one in the past? Previous study does not affect your entitlement to a student loan. You can apply for a loan even if you have received support for a full-time course in the past. What if my university/college and I do not agree on the details of my application for DSA? You must follow the appeals procedure as detailed on page 20 of this booklet. What if my DSA allowance doesn t cover the cost of the support I need? Speak to your disability advisor at your institution who may be able to offer some additional support. Can I get DSA again if I received DSA for a previous course? Yes! However, your entitlement to tuition fees and a bursary will be affected. Can I get funding to find out if I have dyslexia? To apply for DSA, you need to provide evidence of your disability. You may be able to get funding through your college or university s discretionary funds to pay for a diagnostic assessment. Or, if you are not eligible to apply to the discretionary funds, your college or university may still be able to help you from other funds. Your institution s Student Services Department or Disability Office will be able to give you more information. Can I claim DSA for non-compulsory parts of my course? Disabled students are able to claim the non-medical helpers DSA allowance for voluntary tutorials. This will be particularly beneficial for students taking distance learning courses who often attend tutorials which are not a compulsory part of the course. SAAS may also consider paying DSA outwith term-time in certain circumstances. 26

28 Postgraduate courses Tuition fee loan From a tuition fee loan under PSAS of up to 3,400 will be available to all eligible Scottish domiciled and EU students undertaking eligible courses. Only oneyear postgraduate diplomas and the 9-month taught element of some masters course will be eligible. Part-time study should be completed within two academic years. You can check the list of eligible funded courses for on the SAAS website. Full-time students can apply for loans of up to 3,400 per year, and part-time students can apply for loans up to 1,700. You repay your loan after you have finished your course and start earning over 16,365 per year... Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) or Postgraduate Diploma in Community Education (PGDipCE) If you are studying a PGDE or PGDipCE on a full time basis, you may be eligible for the same funding as all other full-time undergraduates unless: you have previously taken a postgraduate course, with or without support from UK or other EU public funds; or your first degree, which you received support from UK or other EU public funds, has qualified you for a profession, e.g. doctors, dentists, nurses, midwives, ministers etc. Students taking PGDE courses in certain priority school subjects may receive a loan for their fees no matter what their previous postgraduate or undergraduate study. You can get more information from SAAS about priority subject areas. If you are studying a PGDE or PGDipCE on a part-time basis, you can apply for the part-time fee grant. You must be 18 of over, have an annual income of 25,000 or less a year and be studying between SCQF credits. To find out more, look at the SAAS website. Research council funding Support for a postgraduate degree, such as a Masters degree or a doctorate (PhD), is the responsibility of the UK Research Councils. All are independent bodies, and the fact that a course lies within its remit does not oblige the Council to support students applying for awards. Research Councils each have their own rules for awarding grants to postgraduate students. Further information on each of the Research Councils and the type of work they fund can be obtained from the Research Councils directly, or from Research Councils UK - a strategic partnership of the UK s seven research councils. Other funding The majority of postgraduate students self-fund. However, there may be funding available through Professional and Career Development Loans, grant-making trusts, or employer sponsorship. 27

29 Postgraduate courses Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) for postgraduate students You may be eligible for DSA from SAAS, provided you are not being supported by a Research Council or by the Scottish Social Services Council, who can provide similar support to the DSA. DSA for postgraduate students in Scotland is available on the same basis as for undergraduate students, although you should check with your university to see if your course is eligible for DSA. Emma is pursuing her ambition to be a teacher Emma has always wanted to be a teacher so when her degree in Art and Design was coming to an end, she applied to do a Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE). Emma is a BSL user. Once Emma has been accepted onto the PGDE course, she meets with the Disability Adviser at her new university to discuss the assistance that she needs. They agree the number of hours of BSL interpreting that she will need, as well as adjustments such as getting lecture notes before each class, deaf awareness training for her tutors, and adjustments in exams. Emma applies for DSA from SAAS to pay for the costs of using BSL Interpreters, booked through a local voluntary organisation. 28

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