Universities launch campaign to promote the real value of the Teaching Grant

Scotland’s 19 Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) have today launched a campaign, ahead of the Scottish Government’s budget next week, highlighting the importance of the higher education Teaching Grant.

The positive campaign, the real value of T, raises awareness and understanding of the importance of the higher education Teaching Grant through the stories of ten staff, working in higher education and doing very different jobs, all of which contribute to the student experience and high-quality outcomes for graduates. Known as the ‘T Grant’ in higher education, the Teaching Grant supports all of these roles and funds the places of all 124,000 Scottish and EU domiciled students studying at undergraduate level.

The campaign complements Universities Scotland’s action to widen access. It shows the wide range of activities needed to support students not just to enter higher education, but to achieve their full potential. It’s about ensuring that access to higher education is access to a successful degree and career.

Worked out at an average of approximately £6,999 per undergraduate per year, universities make the Teaching Grant work very hard for every student. The funding is spent on the development of degree programmes and the teaching of them, as might be expected, but also funds a wide range of vital support services for students. Services like study skills, support for mental health and wider welfare, retention, employability and careers advice.

The grant goes towards widening access, outreach into schools, partnerships with colleges and student retention. It supports the additional features that are distinctive to a Scottish higher education, including partnering with students in our approach to quality enhancement and embedding enterprise and entrepreneurship into our teaching.

Universities Scotland has submitted a funding bid to the Scottish Government, asking for real terms protection of the level of teaching resource invested in every student in 2018/19. The representative body estimates that this would require an increase in funding of £10.8 million. If delivered, this would see a very welcome stabilisation of the amount of teaching grant per student; the first stabilisation in six years.

Launching the campaign, Professor Andrea Nolan said:

“All eyes will be on the budget lines published by the Scottish Government next week and we’re hoping to see the teaching grant protected in real terms. The real value of this grant is the investment it allows us to make in every student. It pays for teaching but also goes towards so much further to contribute to a much wider range of support and welfare services for university students.

“Our students have worked hard to get to university, whatever their background. They deserve a high quality education and a full package of support services to help them through what can be very challenging years, as newly independent adults or as adult returners with multiple commitments to juggle alongside study. The Grant is central to universities’ work to widen access; it supports outreach into schools and partnerships with colleges.

“Investment in the university teaching grant is also an investment in Scotland’s future workforce. This funding covers the creation and development of new degree courses, it supports skills development and partnerships with employers, industry and others to make sure courses are professionally relevant and deliver job-ready, highly motivated graduates.

“Calling it the Teaching Grant really undersells what universities deliver in return for this fund and what it contributes to Scotland. The Grant is an investment in every student and in their futures. Our staff are hard-working, committed and focused on the value that they add to the higher education of their students. We’re asking the Scottish Government and Scotland’s other parties for their support for real terms protection of the university teaching grant so that we can stay focused on the day job.”


The Real Value of T is being sent to MSPs this morning [Friday] and is being supported on Universities Scotland’s website and social media channels.

The set of ten staff stories in the real value of T includes:

Neil Croll, who works as Head of Widening Participation.  Talking about his job, Neil says: 

“I love this work. The main draw is seeing pupils or adult returners progress to university. The freedom to pursue education is a fundamental right which should be open to everyone. The fact it is not makes widening participation necessary.”

Dr Karen Petrie works as Reader and Associate Dean for Learning and Teaching. Her role involves working closely with industry to develop courses that meet employer’s needs. She says:

“We regularly consult our Industrial Advisory Board to make sure that we keep the course content current an applicable. My current challenge is to work with employers on an even closer basis.”

Dr Iliyan Stefanov, is Head of Student Services, responsible for student welfare. He says:

Almost 60 per cent of students need help for mental health. Only one in five seek support. Crucially, our service not only helps struggling students to survive their university journey it aims to equip them with self-confidence and to ensure they feel positive about their future.”


Shona Johnston is Head of Careers, Employability and Enterprise. Talking about her job, she says:

“The idea that the careers service is where students come in their final year has completely changed. Students feel safe telling us their hopes and dreams. Helping them along the road is such a privilege.”





  • Audit Scotland recently estimated the average price per student, paid by the Scottish Funding Council, as £6,999. It added: ‘the price paid does not directly reflect the actual cost of the activity in each university’. Audit Scotland (2016) Audit of Higher Education in Scottish Universities. Paragraph 61.
  • The value of total Teaching Grants available to higher education institutions in 2017/18 was £692.8 million. Scottish Funding Council (2017) Outcome Agreement Funding for Universities. Annex A.
  • The Teaching Grant is typically calculated using a price x place model and it will be again from 2018/19.


For further information please contact:

Duncan McKay, Senior Public Affairs Officer

T: 0131 225 0714 M: 07445 747 222