Tuition free universities in Scotland for international students

Scotland is a country that is located in the northern part of the UK. The country attracts tourists as well as international students.

There are assorted tuition-free programs available for students which is why students always search for tuition free universities in Scotland for international students. You can equally get some cheap universities in Scotland.

International students are always on the search for tuition-free universities in Scotland and always get disappointed most times because they don’t get the required results they are searching for.

To be honest with you, even though there are cheap universities in Scotland, studying in Scotland can be expensive for international students. Each year, the tuition fees can be between $15,000 to $20,000.

So instead of Tuition-free universities in Scotland for international students, we should be talking about How to study in Scotland for free. Why?

This is because there are no Tuition-free universities in Scotland for international students anymore.

How Studying in Scotland became free

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The United Kingdom was known to set tuition policies for universities in the united kingdom through their central government. As of 1997, students were required to pay £1,000 for their education.

But in the year 2001, tuition fees were abolished after voting in the year 1999 in favour of creating its parliament. Therefore Scotland decided that university will be free.

The only this involved is the fact that college graduates who earn at least £10,000, or $15,000, per year, had to pay about  £2,000, around $3,000, to the Scottish government the year they graduated.

College in Scotland became completely free after they abolished post-graduation fees. What was the effect of this? When tuition went down, college applications went up.

Now the big question is, are universities in Scotland free?

Can you study in Scotland tuition-free?

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The answer is yes! You can study in Scotland tuition-free only in two special cases:

  • If you are a UK citizen and you are already resident in Scotland.
  • If you are a citizen of another EU country, and you are studying for your Bachelor’s degree or the scotish undergraduate masters degree.

If you belong to any of that classes, then there are no direct tuition fees. Instead, your fees will be covered by the Student Award Agency for Scotland. Does that answer the question is university free in Scotland for EU students? Leave an answer in the comment section.

Who is not eligible to study in Scotland tuition-free?

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The exemptions listed above does not include the following group of persons, which means if you belong to any of the groups that are about to be listed, then you cannot study in Scotland tuition-free without some form of scholarship.

  • If you are from England, Wales or Northern Ireland who only plan to move to scotland for University.
  • If you a student from any of the countries that are outside the European Union otherwise called international students.

Since you already know that you cannot study in Scotland tuition-free as an international student except with some form of scholarship, that leads us to the question:

how much does it really cost to study in Scotland?

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The amount you have to pay depends basically on the fee status. The table below, however, gives an overview of the typical tuition fees in Scotland.

Though they are just general ranges, there are courses that can be much cheaper or even more expensive.

CategoryUndergraduate feesPostgraduate fees
Home1,820 GBP5,000 – 15,000 GBP
Rest of the UK (RUK)9,250 GBP for the first 3 years5,000 – 15,000 GBP
International10,000 GBP – 26,000 GBP15,000 – 30,000 GBP
Tuition free universities in Scotland for international students: fee table

Another question which you might be asking is:

When do you have to pay the tuition fee as a student?

As an international student, the tuition payment depends on the University. But once you have an offer, you need to register with the university.

During your registration, you will be asked to pay a percentage of the tuition fees which is usually up to 50% in many cases. After the first payment, there are options to pay off at once or pay in multiple instalments.

But as an international student, when applying for your study visa, you will need to demonstrate some form of financing sufficiency.

You need to prove that you have the funds to pay for at least your first year of study including your cost of living and accommodation for up to 9 months at least.

What is the cost of application in Scottish Universities?

Most Scottish universities will charge application fees once you apply for any program. It can be as high as 50 pounds sometimes and most times they are non-refundable.

So if you must apply to a university that charges application fees, then you must be careful and ensure you have good chances of being accepted.

The application fee is not the same as the visa application fee. It is strictly the amount students pay for the processing of their admission.

Can I work while studying in Scotland?

Student’s life in Scotland can be so expensive, therefore it is very much recommended for students to work while they study to earn some money to take care of their living expenses.

This equally boosts their work experience level before they graduate. For EU citizens, there are no restrictions toward working as a student.

But as an international student, you are allowed to work up to 20 hours a week.

What is the cost of Living in Scotland?

Studying in Scotland is not all that cheap but it is certainly cheaper than in England. There are cheap students cities such as Edinburg and Glasgow

You can spend as little as 700 pounds a month, accommodation inclusive. It all basically depends on how luxurious you want to live. That means you can spend more than that.

Don’t forget, as an international student, you will need to prove that you are financially stable at the embassy when you apply for the student’s visa.

That is that you have about  1,015 GBP for each month for a period of 9 months. Here is the breakdown.

ExpenseMonthly Cost 
Course materials£17
Rent£421
Groceries£101
Going out£47
Takeaways and eating out£41
Household bills£40
Transport£34
Health and wellbeing£15
Clothes and shopping£34
Mobile phone£15
Other£18
Gifts and charity£13
Holidays and events£14
TOTAL£810
Tuition free universities in Scotland for international students: cost of living in Scotland

What are the top three best universities in Scotland?

I consider the following as being among the best, having made it to the Top 10 universities in the UK.

These universities are not among tuition free universities in Scotland for international students, of which we have established earlier that there are no tuition free universities in Scotland for international students.

University of Edinburgh
University of Glasgow
University of St Andrews
University of Aberdeen

Apply for student’s finance

The student’s finance is the funding by the government, which you need to apply for in order to have them pay for your living costs as well as tuition while you study.

The money is usually bankrolled and regulated by the government. But who can apply for the Student’s finance?

The student’s finance unfortunately is open to individuals who have also lived in the united kingdom for the last three years. That is you must:

  • Lived in the UK for at least three years prior to the start of your course.
  • have been ordinarily resident on a specified date.
  • have had the settled status in the UK as at the stipulated relevant date.

However, you may be eligible to apply if you have refugee status or are from the Republic of Ireland.

There are no age limits but then you need to be studying at an approved higher institution for the first time in order to be able to apply.

If the whole thing about the student’s finance is not yet clear, you can check out the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS).

What are the Cheapest Universities in Scotland for international students?

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Since there are no tuition free universities in Scotland for international students, you should consider these cheapest universities in Scotland for international students.

  • The University of West Scotland (UWS)
  • University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI)
  • Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU)
  • University of Stirling
  • University of Abertay Dundee
  • Queen Margaret University
  • Edinburgh Napier University (ENU)
  • University of Dundee
  • Robert Gordon University (RGU)
  • Heriot-Watt University (HWU)

The University of West Scotland (UWS)

Minimum annual tuition fee in USD: $14,625 (£12,000)

The University of West Scotland aims to have a transformational influence on the social, cultural and economic influence on all of west Scotland.

The University of West Scotland is recognized and ranked by The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019 as being among the top 100 UK universities.

They are rated high for teaching quality and student experience in the following area. They are rated high for their teaching quality and student experience in the following areas:

  • Aeronautical
  • Manufacturing Engineering
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • General Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Education
  • Hospitality
  • Leisure
  • Recreation & Tourism
  • Physics & Astronomy

Times Higher Education recognized them as being among the top 600 universities worldwide and is on number 150 in terms of universities under 50 years old.

There are about 17,000 students from more than 70 countries worldwide. They have about 130 EU partners and a growing number across the world.

University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI)

Minimum annual tuition fee in USD: $14,625 (£12,000)

This is not one of the tuition free universities in Scotland for international students but however, it is a university that gives you the chance to do something different.

They offer a diverse range of courses and they have been ranked second in Scotland and eighth in the UK for the earth and marine sciences in the Guardian University Guide.

They receive funding Council grants for higher education which is about £45m and equally funding Council grants for further education up to £58m.

In place of tuition free universities in Scotland for international students, you can consider this school.

Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU)

Tuition Range:

Local students-7,400-9,200 Euro(1,800-3,700 Euro for postgraduate)
International students-12,900-14,700 (9,200-11,000 Euro for postgraduates)

Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) is one of the coeducational UK higher institutions that offer courses and programs that lead to officially recognized degrees.

It is one of the biggest universities in the UK. Asides from that, it is equally placed as one of the top universities in Scotland.

The school equally provides an amazing environmental management program in the school of Engineering despite not being among the tuition free universities in Scotland for international students.

As a matter of fact, they have once been named as one of the world’s top universities by Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings.

They are ranked in the 600 to 800 banding and are performing well in terms of international outlook.

University of Stirling

Minimum annual tuition fee (£13,100)

The University of Stirling is not one of the tuition free universities in Scotland for international students. However, they are ranked 301 in the world university ranking by Times Higher Education.

The University of Stirling is located in Stirling, United kingdom and is featured in the best 1000 universities of the world.

They are among the top 30 universities in the UK while students have rated it to be among the top 20 instead of when considered according to student’s satisfaction in the National student’s survey.

University of Abertay Dundee

Minimum annual tuition: £14,000

The University of Abertay Dundee is ranked 107 in the country and 1626 in the world rank. However, It is not one of the tuition free universities in Scotland for international students.

Their reputation has been recognized with a Silver rating in the Teaching excellence framework. About  3,675 of these students come from the UK, 490 from other EU countries and about 115 from non-EU countries.

According to facts, six months after leaving university, 61% of graduates are in work or further study and upon working make up to £18-21k a year.

Queen Margaret University

Minimum annual tuition: £14,500

Queen Margaret University is ranked 801 in QS World University Rankings by TopUniversities. It is not one of the tuition free universities in Scotland for international students.

This university is featured in the best 1000 universities in the world. It is Musselburgh and was founded in the year 1875.

They offer both graduate and undergraduate degrees and is interestingly a home for 7 research centres.

Edinburgh Napier University (ENU)

Minimum annual tuition fee:£14,925

Edinburgh Napier University (ENU) is a university that is located in South East Scotland. Over 13,000 students are enrolled with over 10,000 of them coming from the UK.

They have very modern accommodation and each room has a double bed. It was founded in the year 1964 and has about three campuses scattered over Scotland.

They are affordable and yet offer quality education and is most common and a bug home for international students.

The number of international students who come from over 140 countries of the world in this institution is on the increase. This school is equally not among the tuition free universities in Scotland for international students.

Robert Gordon University (RGU)

Minimum annual tuition fee: £14,925

Robert Gordon University (RGU) is a modern university based in the Scottish city of Aberdeen.

It has over 16,000 students and is not among the tuition free universities in Scotland for international students.

They have a leading employment record for their graduates and consequently has been rated as having the highest prospects for graduates.

They are ranked 66th in the Times University Guide and 43rd in the Guardian University Guide.

Robert Gordon University has over 1,500 places in University accommodation available and guarantees housing to first-year students.

Heriot-Watt University (HWU)

Minimum annual tuition fee: £15,080

Heriot-Watt University (HWU) is not one of the tuition free universities in Scotland for international students. They are ranked 301 in the QS World Ranking by Top universities.

This university was established in the year 1821 as a school of the Arts of Edinburgh. It is a home for over 10,000 students in their campus in Edinburgh while over 31,000 students are littered in all of their other campuses.

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Conclusion

Having figured out that there are no tuition free universities in Scotland for international students, and have chosen the cheapest universities to attend, you must prepare early. Drop a comment below or if you need some form of assistance towards getting into these schools.

What we covered in this guide on tuition free universities in Scotland for international students.

References and what we covered

Tuition free universities in Scotland for international students: How studying in Scotland became free.https://www.savethestudent.org/student-finance/finance-system-for-scottish-students.html#:~:text=tuition free universities in Scotland for international studentsUniversity%20is%20free%20in%20Scotland,1%2C820%20a%20year%20for%20you.
Tuition free universities in Scotland for international students: Cost of studying in Scotland. https://www.study.eu/article/tuition-fees-in-scotlandtuition free universities in Scotland for international students

Tuition free universities in Scotland for international students: who is eligible to study in Scotland tuition-free?

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