Funding your studies when returning to education

Edinburgh College students Peter and Steph, walking through the street corridor at Sighthill Campus

Returning to College can be a daunting prospect if you have been out of education for a while. This year due to the Covid-19 crisis you may have either had your work hours reduced or suffered job loss. Although this can be devastating, it may be your opportunity to return to education to take your career path in a new direction. You may worry that with studying you may have to sacrifice income made from working. However, College can provide you with financial support while you are studying. This can help you build upon your education while providing funding for living costs, all with the end goal of building a career you enjoy. While you may be restricted in terms of employment options in the current crisis, you can still receive funding and improve your skills and qualifications by studying at College.

Funding Tool 

A good place to start is to understand what type of funding you may be entitled to based on the study mode of your course (full-time or part-time) and your personal circumstances. An easy way to find this out is to use our website’s funding tool. 

Screen shot of the funding tool on the Edinburgh College website

Studying a full-time course 

Studying full-time usually means you are in College 3 to 4 days a week. Depending on the level of your course, you can apply for a college bursary or a student loan from SAAS (Student Awards Agency Scotland) which is paid to you every month for the duration of your course. Your bursary will be part of your Edinburgh College course application whereas you must apply for SAAS directly on their website before your course begins. The difference is that a bursary is provided by the College without the need to repay it, whereas a loan from SAAS will be repaid directly from your pay check (before tax) once you are earning above a certain amount and have completed your studies.  

When you study full-time you will have time for independent study. It can also be an opportunity to apply for a part-time job to help gain further experience and skills while earning a second line of income. We also provide a service called JobZone, a website where you can find part-time jobs, ideal for those who want to work while studying. 

Edinburgh College students Peter and Steph, walking along a corridor at Sighthill campus

Studying a part-time or evening course  

If you are looking to study a part-time or evening course, you may be eligible for funding options. Depending on the level of your course you may be eligible for SAAS funding. You must apply for SAAS directly on their website before your course begins. Individual Training Accounts (ITA) funding provided by Skills Development Scotland (SDS), is available for those looking to build upon their skills or discover new ones. You could be eligible for up to £200 towards your course without the need to repay. This funding is only open for a limited amount of time and there is a limit on the total number of applications that can be made. You must apply for ITA funding directly on the SDS myworldofwork website here and be approved before applying for a college course. 

Edinburgh College students Peter and Steph, walking through the street corridor at Sighthill Campus

Contact us 

If you are considering returning to education after a break and need further advice, please contact us for more information at

Further information about funding 

Edinburgh College Funding Tool: 

Edinburgh College Bursary: 

Student’s Award Agency Scotland (SAAS): 

Individual Training Accounts (ITA):