How to Study in Scotland for Free (10 Steps)

Scotland is a country located in the northern part of the United Kingdom. It is famous for kilts, haggis, mountainous landscapes, and its history of fighting against the English. The country attracts not only the tourists who come here from all over the world but also a high number of students. The freshmen arrive from the other parts of the UK (i.e. Northern Ireland, Wales, England), as well as the European Union, and other regions. There is a worthy assortment of tuition-free programs available for students of all backgrounds, which, combined with the overall affordability of the cost of living in Scotland, plays an integral role in the country’s worldwide popularity.

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Steps to Study in Scotland for Free

1. Understand the Importance of a Splendid Application

If you are considering applying for one of the Scottish universities, it is important to prepare an application that will impress the academic staff and increase your overall chances of successful admission. Remember that every single detail plays an integral role in the possibility of you passing the application stage. Make sure to improve your test scores and achieve the highest examination rankings possible, which is essential to studying in Scotland for free. Feel free to mention all the supplementary achievements, too.

2. Get the Application Ready in Advance

As an applicant, you should focus all your efforts not only on building a splendid application but also on preparing all the required data. Depending on the country of origin, each applicant might face different struggles: a criminal record check, an issue of a student visa, etc. As some of the entry barriers may take up to a few months to get cleared, you have to take them into consideration, as well as all the paperwork required by the chosen educational institution.

It is essential that you submit all the documentation on time. Therefore, you need to closely follow all the university’s news and present the required documentation as soon as it will have been requested.

3. Check Whether Universities in Scotland Offer Scholarships

One of the significant benefits of acquiring your undergraduate or postgraduate degree in Scotland is the overwhelming number of scholarships and financial aids provided by the local universities. You must keep in mind, however, that some of the funding possibilities are only accessible to Scottish, British, or European students. Nonetheless, the bursaries and scholarships offered can provide a great deal of relief, as they can cover your living expenses, tuition fees, as well as your travel costs, for you to be able to study for free in Scotland.

For more information, please consult with The University of St Andrews website and The University of Edinburgh homepage, or take a look at the website of the institution of choice.

4. Check whether your local government offers scholarships

In the ever-increasing world of opportunities, there are more and more countries that provide their citizens with funding to support students’ international education ambitions. Pay close attention to the legislation of your own country to find out if there are any possibilities for you to receive funding. Besides the government-run programs, there may be organizations that provide financial aid to the local students. It is recommended to get familiar with the options in case you may be eligible for such support.

5. Check for External Funding from Outside Organizations

Several organizations in Scotland provide financial aid to domestic and international students. Some of them, such as Entrepreneur Scholarship Programme, focus only on certain types of students. Others offer general monetary help to the prospective freshmen looking to obtain a degree from one of the Scottish institutions.

To be able to study for free in Scotland, you should look for not only the domestically operated organizations and funds, but also international scholarships (e.g. OFID Scholarship Award, ADB Japan Scholarship Program), which are open to applicants from all over the world.

6. Seek Out Affordable Universities in Scotland

Scottish universities have two separate tuition bands. The first one applies exclusively to the UK and EU nationals. The average tuition fee for this group ranges from £1,800 to £3,000 per year. In most cases, the fee gets covered by the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS). Students who come to Scotland from other regions are faced with higher tuition expenses, often exceeding £16,000 per academic year

Some Scottish universities, however, allow for a lower cost. If you are looking for cheaper alternatives, you should take a look at the institutions located outside big major cities. If you are interested, definitely check out the cheapest universities in Scotland for international students!

7. Start Applying

Once you have gathered the required paperwork and researched the possible scholarships and financial reliefs, feel free to submit your application to the university of choice. The application process may take some time, so make sure to start it early. Frequently check news and updates on your status in case you will be asked to submit additional documentation or participate in an entrance exam.

8. Earn Money to Support Yourself

As a student in Scotland, you may consider finding a part-time or a full-time job. Not only does it allow you to earn some additional money to support yourself, but it also helps students to experience working life in the UK. Students from the UK and EU are allowed to work without any restrictions, while citizens of other regions may be limited to doing only part-time work, depending on the type of visa that you hold.

9. Control the Costs of Living

Outside of the initial application, admission, and tuition costs, you shall consider all the other expenses you will face during your time in Scotland. Being a part of the UK, some of the costs may be relatively high. If you have to use public transport to get to and from the university, a single ticket in a city like Edinburgh will cost you £1.70; and a monthly pass can be obtained for £56. Internet and prepay phone tariffs range from £30 to £60 per month. If you want to truly study in Scotland for free, you should definitely consider cutting the cost involved for living in Scotland.

Rent within the city centre can reach up to £1000 for a one-bedroom apartment. As a result, most students choose to either live in a dormitory or share an apartment with other people, renting exclusively a single room. Sharing a living space with others also helps to pay less for utilities.

10. Do One or More of the Points Listed Above

To achieve your goal, you should definitely do one or more of the things above to be able to truly study in Scotland for free. The most popular way is to get scholarships in Scotland, but there are other ways too, as you have seen above. So, I highly recommend you to look for other ways too!


I hope that this article was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Europe Scholarships Page.