Commonwealth Games’ hopeful, Eilidh Child, launched a campaign this week, urging students to get financially fit by submitting funding applications to the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) by 30 June.
With almost two months to go, the track star joined the organisation’s Chief Executive to call for students to send financial support applications early, to make sure their money is in place for the start of the new term.
Successful applications allow the Scottish Government to pay tuition fees and a combination of bursaries and loans based on household income to Scottish students studying full-time, higher education courses.
SAAS is emphasising the importance of ensuring the form is correctly completed and all supporting evidence is sent in time, as it processes over 150,000 applications every year.
David Wallace, Chief Executive of SAAS, said: “Last year we proactively urged students to submit correctly completed applications and all supporting evidence by 30 June and I’m delighted that almost 80 per cent of all applications came in on time.
“This will be one of the biggest financial transactions in a student’s lifetime so it is vital they take the time to fill in the form accurately and upload any supporting evidence to make sure payment is in place for the start of the new term.
“Our helpline advisors are ready and waiting to provide guidance and help at the end of a phone. I’d urge anyone with application queries to pick up the phone and access the right advice.”
Athlete, Eilidh Child, who studied PE at the University of Edinburgh knows first-hand that the application requires time and effort. She said, “I remember having to fill in my SAAS form every year but it helps if you set aside time to do it and look out any supportive information that you may need. I’d advise students to give the helpline a call if stuck – it’s always better to talk the application over with someone. Get your SAAS application in by 30 June so you can hit the ground running for the start of the new term.”
As well as free tuition, an income of £7,500 will be available to those from the lowest income households and all students will be eligible for a student loan of £4,750.
New and returning students are required to fully complete the online application correctly and supply all supporting documents using the Agency’s online document uploader, such as proof of parents’ or partner’s income or lone parent status.
Gordon Maloney, President of NUS Scotland, said: “We all know how important SAAS funding is for students, particularly when we’re continuing to make real progress in fair access for those from less advantaged backgrounds. This is why it’s so important that students get their applications in as soon as possible, which will help avoid any delay in receiving funding.
“To ensure students receive this support in the first term it’s important they make applying to SAAS a priority. Our message to students is don’t delay. We’ve seen huge improvements in the amount of support available to students, and the quicker SAAS receives applications, the more assured students can be that they’ll receive it on time.”
The SAAS helpline is available Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 5pm on 0300 555 0505 where operators can talk through applications with students.
Ross AndersonCommunications Officer | Health and Sport