Cost of living support

The Heriot-Watt Students' Union Logo - light blue writing on a hot pink background

The UK is currently undergoing significantly increased cost of living expenses, and Heriot-Watt is acutely aware of the impact rising bills will have on student life. We are here to help.

We are working in partnership with the Student Union to help you thrive during your time here. We have a range of resources to assist you in your studies, as well as information on how the University and Student Union can support you with advice and funding.

Student Wellbeing

Student Wellbeing Services

Student Wellbeing Services offer practical advice and support on all kinds of issues including settling into university life, disability, counselling and mental health support.  They can also help if you get into difficulties by providing advice and guidance to make sure you get the most out of your time at Heriot-Watt.

The Advice Hub

The Student Union runs the Advice Hub, an independent service where you can get support and advice on anything relating to academic or personal issues. All information shared with the The Advice Hub is confidential and is not shared within the Student Union or with the University.


The Chaplaincy is generally open between 09.00 and 18.00 and students can drop in for a confidential chat, whether that relates to the cost of living or any other issue you might be facing. The Chaplaincy is open to everyone of any religion and to those without religious faith.

Financial support

Financial support is available to support students at the University’s Scottish campuses.

Heriot-Watt Discretionary Hardship Fund

The University and Scottish Government provide a number of funds to support students who find themselves in financial difficulties during their studies. Money is awarded for help with living costs (not tuition fees) and is paid as a grant. The fund is discretionary. Find out whether you are eligible and how to apply for Discretionary Hardship Funds.

Childcare Fund

If you are a home (Scottish, English, Welsh or Northern Irish) full-time student and in receipt of the full student loan you are entitled to, you can apply for assistance to help pay formal registered childcare costs. Find out more on AskHWU.

Disabled Students Allowance

The Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) is additional funding available to disabled students to cover the cost of things that you need directly related to your disability and how it affects your academic studies. It cannot be used for expenses not related to your disability.

Scholarships and bursaries

Students with particular circumstances, like being care-experienced or coming from a low-income family, may be eligible for one of our scholarships and bursaries. There are bursaries and scholarships available to students who are Deaf/hard of hearing, estranged, and who have caring responsibilities to help you overcome any financial barriers you may face because of these circumstances.

Student Union Hardship Loans

The Student Union offers hardship loans for students who need emergency funds for travel and/or food. This money needs to be repaid, but the repayment time is negotiable. You can find more information on The Advice Hub.


Rent Guarantor Scheme

One of the barriers to renting accommodation can sometimes be getting a guarantor for your lease. The University offers an Accommodation Guarantor Scheme for students where a UK guarantor is not available (for example overseas students, care leavers, asylum seekers and estranged students).

Emergency accommodation

If you are homeless, or at risk of being so, please seek advice as soon as possible.  Read the Homeless Guidance from Edinburgh City Council.

Please speak with our Wellbeing Team, Advice Hub, or Accommodation Team who can offer help, advice and support.

If you are struggling financially you may be eligible to apply for support through the Hardship fund. If you require guidance on applying to the hardship fund, or on what other support may be available to you can contact The Advice Hub or visit them in person at the Edinburgh Campus.

Please see additional information and resources below:


The Chaplaincy offers two cheap meals during the week: Tuesday Soup at 12.30 and the Wednesday Meal at 18.00. Both cost £1 per visit.

There is also free coffee and cake available on Thursdays from 15.00-16.00, during Chill at the Chaplaincy.

On our Edinburgh campus, free soup is available every Thursday from 11.30am to 3.30pm for all staff and students, also from Central food court.

The Student Union on Edinburgh campus also offers a community larder. Students can help themselves to non-perishable goods for free with no questions asked.


There are big savings to be made on travel costs if you plan ahead.


If you are under 22 and live in Scotland, you are eligible for free nationwide bus travel.


If you are a student and frequently take the train, you can apply for a ScotRail 16-25 RailCard. All students are eligible for this RailCard, even if they are over 25. This costs £30 but gives you 1/3 off tickets for a year. Make sure you look at your average train ticket expenses to ensure that you will save £30 or more by using the RailCard, otherwise it is not worth it.


If you live within cycling distance of the University, or if you could reduce your bus/train journeys by biking instead, you can rent a bike at heavily reduced rates from the Bike Bothy run by Oriam. For more information, please email


You can ride with other Heriot-Watt students to campus using Tripshare.


Laptop Loan Scheme

The Scottish Funding Council has provided additional funding to tackle digital exclusion.  The support will come in the form of a laptop loan for eligible students.

To find out if you are eligible and how to apply, please login to your Student Portal and search for 'laptop' in AskHWU.

Working while studying

If you are looking for some extra money, or you need a wage to pay your bills? Getting a part-time job is an excellent way of developing your employability skills and boosting your CV whilst earning some cash at the same time. The Careers and Graduate Futures Service at Heriot-Watt is here to support you find and apply for student friendly jobs that fit around your studies (we advise working no more than 15-18 hours per week whilst studying during semester and please also note that if you are a student visa holder you can only work a maximum of 20 hours per week during term time).

We advertise roles across a variety of other sectors, including bars and hospitality, health care, office and retail work. New roles are added on a regular basis, so it is worth keeping an eye out for new postings!

Simply click on the Careers & Graduate Futures tile on the MyHWU portal, and select the ‘Find a Job’ tile on the dashboard. Our part-time jobs are advertised on the GRADfutures Job Board and the Job Teaser sites.

As well as advertising part-time opportunities, we also provide support on making applications, creating your ‘part-time’ CV as well as information on National Insurance numbers, minimum wage regulations and tax.

The University also has Unitemps -  a campus-based job agency that places Heriot-Watt students in temporary roles within the University. There is a wide variety of work available throughout the year in areas such as hospitality, events, logistics and administration. Unitemps provides students with the opportunity to earn whilst studying as well as access to a dedicated Unitemps team available to advise you.

More information is available from the Unitemps webpage or the Unitemps office in the Hugh Nisbet Building, opposite the student shop

The Student Union also advertise job vacancies.