Discretionary Fund Guidelines 2019/20 >

What is the Discretionary Fund?

The Discretionary Fund is a fund allocated by the Scottish Government via the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) and administered by the Glasgow School of Art (GSA).  The fund is intended to provide assistance to home (UK) students in financial difficulties to enable them to access and/or continue in Higher Education. These funds may be awarded in addition to other forms of financial support to contribute towards essential living costs such as food, rent and utility bills and cannot be awarded to pay for tuition fees, studio fees or material costs.  Discretionary Funds are not intended to cover all of a student’s shortfall in living costs.  Students are expected to supplement their funding with part-time earnings or family support wherever possible.   

Who can apply? 

Students from outside the UK, overseas tuition fee payers and EU students are not eligible to apply to the Discretionary Fund.

Eligible Undergraduate and Postgraduate home students who are in receipt of the maximum statutory funding (income assessed where applicable), from SAAS/Student Finance England/Northern Ireland or Wales, can apply to the Discretionary Fund.  

Priority is given to Undergraduate students who have at least one dependent child, part-time students, care experienced and estranged students, final year students and students who are carers. Postgraduate students who receive SAAS postgraduate tuition fee support (full-time or part- time) are also a priority. 

How do I apply? 

One application per academic year will be considered and the Committee will take into consideration your financial situation, budget plan and the length of time remaining to complete the academic year. It is your responsibility to let us know if your student status or financial situation significantly changes. Applications will be accepted from 1st October 2019 – 20th March 2020 inclusive, subject to available funding.

Complete the Discretionary Fund application form. The form can be downloaded from Canvas:   

Student Support & Development > Student Welfare > Discretionary and Childcare Funding

Alternatively, you can collect the form from Student Support, 30 Hill Street, Glasgow G3 6RN.

Your completed form and photocopies of the relevant and essential supporting documentation as listed in this document should be emailed to welfare@gsa.ac.uk.  

Your application should contain information relating to how you plan to fund your studies and demonstrate actual or anticipated financial difficulties that cannot be resolved by your own effort. Incomplete applications will not be processed. An application is considered complete on the working day that all required information is received. It is not possible to indicate in advance how much funding, if any, you may be awarded. Due to the limited amount of funding available, you may be awarded a grant that is less than the amount you requested. 

Essential supporting photocopied documents you are required to submit to complete your application:

  • SAAS/Student Finance (England/NI/Wales) Letter of Award – all pages 
  • Most recent bank statements covering a minimum period of 2 months, on all household accounts held, including your partner’s accounts, if applicable
  • Savings (if applicable)
  • Evidence of part-time earnings – copies of at least 2 recent pay slips (If applicable) 
  • Evidence of rent or mortgage costs
  • Household bills e.g. gas, electricity, broadband etc.
  • Evidence of benefits/Universal Credit e.g. child benefit, housing (If applicable)

What happens next? 

Decisions are made by the Discretionary Fund Committee. This is a panel of GSA staff following the guidelines as set out by SAAS. All applications are treated in the strictest confidence and assessed according to need. Applicants can appeal in writing against the Discretionary Fund Committee’s decision by emailingwelfare@gsa.ac.uk and marking the email ‘Confidential – Discretionary Fund Appeal’. Appeals are considered by a separate Appeals Committee and their decision is final. 

How and when will I know the outcome of my application?

The outcome of your application will be emailed to you within 4-6 weeks from the date of receipt of your completed application. If you are awarded a grant from the Discretionary Fund the grant may be disbursed periodically throughout the academic year with payment dates specified. Awards are paid by bank transfer into the UK bank account specified on the BACS form you submitted with your application.  

For further information, email welfare@gsa.ac.uk