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.Are you considering going to Scotland to study and live your college life?
Let's see what the advantages of this country are
Scotland - the northernmost country within the United Kingdom - is a popular destination for international students: Many world-class universities, vibrant student communities and excellent quality of life. However, studying in Scotland can be expensive - so you must prepare early.
Who has to pay tuition fees to study in Scotland?
Generally, all students must pay fees to study at a university in Scotland (with one exception - more on that below). The amount depends on the fee status, and it makes a difference where you are from:
CAN YOU STUDY IN SCOTLAND FOR FREE?
You can study in Scotland tuition-free, but only in one case: If you are a UK citizen already resident in Scotland or a citizen of another EU country. If you are studying for your first undergraduate degree (meaning a Bachelor's degree or a Scottish undergraduate Master's degree), then there are no direct tuition fees. Instead, your expenses will be covered by the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS).
However, this exemption does not apply to students from England, Wales or Northern Ireland ("rest of UK" or "RUK") who would only move to Scotland for university, and it also does not apply to students from outside the European Union ("international students").
Students who want to pursue a postgraduate programme always have to pay tuition fees. The amount depends on the university, schedule, and fee status; EU students usually pay less than non-EU international students. Scottish universities do not differentiate between Scottish and RUK students for postgraduate programmes.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO STUDY IN SCOTLAND?
The cost of your university education mostly depends on your fee status (meaning whether you're a "home", "RUK", or "international" student) and at what level you plan to study. The amounts vary, but the following table gives you a rough overview of the typical tuition fees in Scotland:
ARE THERE SCHOLARSHIPS FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS?
A scholarship is a great way to finance your studies in Scotland, especially if you are an international student and have to cover higher tuition costs.
One popular scholarship programme is the Saltire Scholarships, sponsored by the Scottish Government. They are generally open to students from the USA, Canada, India, Pakistan, Japan or China who want to pursue a Masters's degree in one of a set of focus subjects. Check out the website for more details.
WHEN DO YOU HAVE TO PAY THE TUITION FEE AS A STUDENT IN SCOTLAND?
The payment details and timing differ from institution to institution, but generally, once you have an offer, you need to register (i.e. enrol) with the university. At registration, you are then asked to already pay a percentage of the tuition fees, sometimes up to 50%. In many cases, you can then pay the remainder of the payments spread out over multiple instalments during your studies.
However, if you are an international (non-EU) student, making the payment to the university is less relevant than when you apply for a UK study visa. When applying for the UK student visa (the Tier 4 visa), you need to meet the financial requirements: You need to prove that you have the funds to pay for the first year of your study programme (or if it is shorter than a year, for the whole programme), and to cover your cost of living and accommodation for up to 9 months (or the length of your schedule if it is shorter), at an amount of 1,015 GBP per month.
WHAT ARE THE MONTHLY COST OF LIVING IN SCOTLAND?
Although studying in Scotland certainly isn't cheap per se, it is more affordable than many other parts of the UK and more inexpensive than London. Depending on how luxurious you want to live, it is possible to get by on as little as 700 or 800 pounds per month, including accommodation. Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen are often among the cheapest student cities in the UK. And you can make the most of special student deals at many shops, restaurants and pubs.
Regardless of the actual cost of living, if you are an international student, you will need to prove that you have 1,015 GBP per month for up to 9 months when you apply for the UK Tier 4 student visa.
WHICH ARE THE BEST UNIVERSITIES IN SCOTLAND?
Scotland is well-known for its world-leading universities that conduct cutting-edge research and offer high-quality education. Looking at global rankings, you will regularly find Scottish universities high up. The University of Edinburgh, the University of Glasgow, the University of St Andrews, and the University of Aberdeen are among the top unis in the UK and also the top 200 in the world.
CAN YOU WORK WHILE STUDYING AT A UNIVERSITY IN SCOTLAND?
In an ideal world, you could study full-time and concentrate on learning as much as possible during your time at uni. But student life in Scotland can be expensive, and a student job can also be valuable to gain some work experience before you graduate.
If and how much you are allowed to work depends on whether you study in the UK on a visa:
If you are a British or EU citizen, there are usually no particular restrictions on work.
If you study in Scotland as an international student on a Tier 4 visa, you can typically work for up to 20 hours a week as long as you are correctly employed via a written agreement.
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I'm Natalia Bertelli, an English/Spanish to Italian legal translator. Since 2008 I have been working on contracts, judicial deeds, certificates, corporate translations for foreign clients who want to do business in Italy, get a dual citizenship or simply settle in my beautiful country.