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Managing your money is a part of life, and money problems are common, especially when you’re a student. This is one of the biggest issues you will have to deal with during your time studying. You may have your fees paid by the government or you may be paying your own fees. Either way, you will require additional money to live on. How do you survive? Who can you talk to? Where can you find more information?

There are no easy solutions for students to find extra funds, so always plan carefully before your studies begin. You must ensure you have planned funds which can cover all your living expenses, including accommodation costs, electricity, gas, wi-fi, food, travel, books, clothes, going out, as well as your laptop and phone expenses etc.

This guide contains a few things that might be helpful to you financially as a student, such as free bus travel for under 22s, and some funds that you might be able to access, depending on your situation.


There's a number of funds avaliable, such as the hardship fund, childcare fund, and participation grant. Have a read about the funds avaliable here and, if you think you qualify, or would like some advice about the funds, you can pick up an application form to any of the funds from either Student Support and Accommodation or the Advice Hub, both of which can be found in the Hugh Nisbet building.

Have a read about the funds avaliable.

Heriot-Watt Bursaries and Scholarships

It's worth searching carefully through the bursaries or scholarships offered by Heriot-Watt to see what you may be eligible to apply for. More information can be found here.

Disabled Students Allowance (DSA)

If you are a student with a disability please contact the University Disability Service on The DSA fund can offer help towards the financial cost of any support needed to enable your studies.

Problems paying bills

If you're having problems paying your bills (such as gas, electricity or mobile phone companies) then we can contact the company on your behalf and/or support you to negotiate a more suitable payment plan. Where we are unable to help, we can make appointments for you at the Citizen’s Advice Bureau and debt advisory organisations.

Finding a job

We know that having a part-time job can be a good source of income while you're at Uni, and it's important that you balance this alongside your studies. While the Advice Hub can't find you a job, we can direct you to the Careers and Graduate Futures Service at Heriot-Watt which is here to support you find and apply for student friendly jobs that fit around your studies and once you graduate. They advertise roles across a variety of sectors, including bars and hospitality, health care, office and retail work. Simply click on the Careers & Graduate Futures tile on the MyHWU portal, and select the ‘Find a Job’ tile on the dashboard. Part-time jobs are advertised on the GRADfutures Job Board and the Job Teaser sites. They also provide support on making applications, creating your ‘part-time’ CV as well as information on National Insurance numbers, minimum wage regulations and tax.

There's a number of ways to find a part-time job, but what role you might find will depend on your skills and when, where, and how much you want to work. Keep an eye on our jobs page for info about jobs with the student union, and have a look at other job boards and websites for jobs in Edinburgh.

Useful Links

The Citizen’s Advice Bureau - Free advice for money and consumer issues as well as housing and legal matters.

Heriot-Watt’s information on fees, scholarships and funding.

Budgeting tools: - Information on funding sources for grants or benefits – you can search by individual circumstances. - For students with a disability -  Excellent and expert advice and tips for students

Our guide about accomodation

Our guide about homelessness

Financial Crisis

Tips and tricks

  • Make sure to look around to see if you're getting the best price on your gas/electric and other bills such as WiFi and your phone, comparison websites can be really good for quickly checking if you could get a better deal elsewhere!
  • Make the most out of student discounts! Always keep an eye out or ask if somewhere you're buying from has a student discount, usually you'll need to show your student ID or fill out your university email to access these kinds of deals. TOTUM, also offer student discounts, either via a free option, or with a paid upgrade if you think that would be beneficial to you.

The Chaplaincy

Heriot-Watt Chaplaincy is a warm, welcoming space to all students and offers the following fabulous weekly events:

Tuesday Soup Lunch

served from 12.30 to 14.00 (£1)

Wednesday Evening Meal

served from 18.00 (£1)

Thursday Coffee & Cake

served from 15.00 to 16.00 (free)

Make sure to check these, and other events are currently running on our What's On page or check with the Chaplaincy.

Riccarton Campus Free Food

Free soup is available every Thursday from 11.30am to 3.30pm for all staff and students, also from Central food court. There may also be food avaliable in the Union building via the community larder or through a community meal event, located just opposite the Amazon Lockers.


The list of books below are reference books to access in a public library – they are extremely expensive and updated every year, so it is not worthwhile buying them, but they do have useful information for funding:

  • The Guide to Major Trusts 2023/4 published by the Directory of Social Change supplies information on over 1,000 of the largest UK funders. You can access this book at public libraries. 
  • The Guide to Educational Grants 2020/21 by Mairead Bailie ISBN-13: 978-1784820633 Access in public libraries. 
  • A Guide to Grants for Individuals in Need 2021/22 by Jessica Threlfall
  • The Grants Register 2023: The Complete Guide to Postgraduate Funding Worldwide Palgrave Macmillan ISBN-13:‎ 978-1349960521

If you want to talk to us confidentially about your financial situation and see what support is avaliable, get in touch

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