Who pays tuition fees?
If you study in Scotland, tuition fees are paid for by Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) for the majority of students. Most applicants who live in Scotland are eligible for SAAS funding but you can check if you meet the criteria and get more details on the funding on the SAAS website.
How do I get a student loan or bursary?
This video from SAAS takes you through the process of applying. saas.gov.uk is where you apply and has all the information you need.
If you are eligible to have your tuition fees payed for by SAAS you can also take out a student loan with the Student Loans Company but you still apply through SAAS. This loan is paid into your bank account on a monthly basis and covers a lot of, if not all of, your living expenses. Once you have completed university and start earning money over a certain threshold, you will gradually start paying the loan back. If your household income is below a certain amount, you may also be eligible for a Young Students’ Bursary. This is also paid into your account along with your student loan, but you do not pay back the amount received as a bursary. You can find out details on eligibility here.
There are also a number of bursaries offered by universities, details of these will be available on the specific university website. A discretionary fund is also available at every university, which is available to people who would not be able to attend university because of financial reasons or those who have financial difficulties while at university. Student support services at university are responsible for deciding who is eligible for this money, and details of contacting them will be available on the university website.
It’s worth thinking about the hidden costs of studying medicine as opposed to another subject. Medical students are expected to travel a lot more, whether that’s across the city or to far flung district hospitals, which can prove expensive. They’re at uni for longer which means more years of living costs to be paid and, in later years, they’re at uni over the summer so it can be difficult to find work that fits in with your teaching schedule. That paints a fairly dreich picture but the flipside is that there are very few degrees that lead to such a rewarding career with such a high employment rate or starting salary.
I mention this here because any savings you can build up by working at school or in the early years of medicine can be immensely useful later on to get you through the clinical years. As mentioned above, you won’t be paying back your loans until you are earning and given how much doctors get paid this isn’t as worrying as it might be.