The Study Assistance Scheme (SAS)

The Study Assistance Scheme (SAS)

The UCL Study Assistance Scheme (SAS) provides support for UCL staff seeking to gain qualifications to support their work and careers.

UCL supports employees who wish to undertake degree or doctorate programmes, professional qualifications or other nationally approved vocational qualifications that are related to their area of work. Individual modules must be credit-bearing, and lead towards a full qualification.

Formal approval from your Head of Department / Institute is required for all SAS applications.

The SAS process is revised annually and funding is granted on an academic yearly basis. For the purposes of SAS, the academic year will be the UCL financial budget year of 1st August to 31st July of the current year.

Important messages

The SAS guidelines have been amended and updated for the academic year 2017/18. New and Continuing SAS Applicants should ensure that they familiarise themselves with the full details of the scheme provided here and in the Guidelines prior to applying for SAS.

Please note that it is the individual's responsibility to apply to the Study Assistance Scheme for each year of their relevant course etc.

Main Eligibility Criteria

You are eligible for funding if you fulfil ALL of the following criteria:

  • UCL employees on the UCL HR payroll database (excluding ‘as and when casual’ staff) - guideline 7.

  • enrolled as a Part time student - guideline 2.

  • qualification undertaken must be work related - guideline 1.

  • course of study must lead to a degree or doctorate programme, professional qualification or other nationally approved vocational qualification (e.g.: PhD, MSc, MA, BSc, BA, Diploma, MRes, MPhil, MBA, MD, NVQ) - guidelines 1 and 3.

  • application forms must be authorised by the Head of Department/Institute - guideline 5.

  • Staff on fixed term contracts, are eligible for an SAS contribution if their employment contract exceeds the duration of their qualification by a 12 month period - guidelines 8 and 15.

    If your contract is less than your qualification period then certain financial conditions apply. See financial conditions, also guidelines 15 and 16.

Those not eligible:

  • staff enrolled as a full-time student

  • staff without a contract at UCL (e.g. Associate UCL staff, agency staff) - guideline 7.

  • Honorary or Emeritus staff, Post-graduate teaching assistants (PGTAs), As and when casual staff,  staff on a UCLH contract (see SAS Guideline  - guideline 7.

  • UK Research students in receipt of full funding (which includes a provision to cover PhD fees) via their grant funder – will not be eligible for SAS. guidelines 10 and 11.

  • if you have alternative funding to cover your course fees

  • If you voluntarily leave your UCL post (ie resignation) during the course of your study, you will be liable for repayment of fees - guideline 16.

  • if you are studying for an accountancy qualification – guideline 22.

Financial conditions

The Study Assistance Scheme is revised annually and therefore you should not assume commitment to continued levels of funding - guideline 12.

SAS contribution will only be granted for one qualification undertaken within an academic year – guidelines 3 and 6.

Post Graduate Research qualifications:  Staff undertaking a research qualification who are in receipt of Grant funding that pays for their qualification fees – should not apply for SAS funding - guidelines 10 and 11.

Staff applying for funding will be eligible to receive 50% of the cost of course fees (up to a maximum of £865 for the academic year 2017/18). This contribution will be pro-rated for part-time staff and those on fixed term contracts - guideline 14.

Staff on fixed term contracts where their employment contract exceeds the duration of their qualification by a 12 month period will be eligible to apply for an SAS contribution as outlined above – guideline 8

Staff on fixed term contracts, less than the duration of their course of study will eligible to apply for a contribution based on half of their contracted number of months for that particular academic year - guideline 15.

There are financial implications if you voluntarily leave UCL employment (ie resignation) up to 12 months after completing the course, for which this application applies - guideline 16.

Please note: the repayment fee for those on fixed term contracts less than the duration of their course of study, has been incorporated within the eligibility amount of SAS contribution that can be claimed for – guideline 15.

SAS Application Process

Please ensure that you have all the information (ie qualification information, student number) readily available, before making an application online.  Many of the fields in the application are mandatory and if you are delayed while completing the application form you may be timed out leading to a possible loss of data.

1. Enrol on your course of study

2. Submit an SAS application via the online system

3. Print out the form and obtain the necessary signatures

4. Send the completed original application form with the required supporting documentation to: SAS Applications – HR Organisational Development

UCL Qualifications

You must have enrolled for your qualification and have a UCL student number before you complete the SAS application form online.

You are advised to inform the UCL Fees Office that you will be applying for SAS (an SAS sponsorship record will be applied to your account for a maximum amount of £865). 

An application should be submitted, as soon as possible, after enrolling on your UCL qualification.  Once your completed form has been received in the OD office and marked as received on the SAS database, an automatic email is sent to the UCL Fees office to confirm receipt of your application. If you do not receive an email confirming receipt of your SAS form within two weeks of submitting, please contact the OD office.

Please contact the UCL Fees Office for further information regarding registration and payment deadlines.

External Qualifications

You should enrol on your course of study prior to submitting an SAS application.   You will be required to pay your fees as reimbursement to the individual will be via the UCL expense payment form.  Evidence of full payment of your fees will be required before any payment can be made.

Qualifications undertaken at UCL IoE will now be considered as an internal UCL qualification.

Supporting Documentation

You must provide all of the following documentation with your application.

Supporting Documentation - Internal Qualification

1. PORTICO record (student summary page - all details option) which must show:

  • part time status of the qualification undertaken
  • total fees for the academic year

2. A supporting statement to show how this qualification will be of benefit to your current post and to your department.

Supporting Documentation - External Qualification

1. Documentary evidence of:

  • part time status of the qualification undertaken
  • qualification title and duration
  • total fees for the academic year
  • proof of payment

2. A supporting statement to show how this qualification will be of benefit to your current post and to your department.


Application Deadlines 2017/18

The deadline for receipt of your original printed SAS application form is on a termly basis, as follows:

  • Friday 15th December 2017 – for staff enrolling on their course of study during Term 1

  • Friday 23rd March 2018 – for staff enrolling on their course of study during Term 2

  • Friday 8th June 2018 – for staff enrolling on their course of study during Term 3

NB: If you miss the relevant deadline, you can still submit an application however processing of your application will be delayed and will be dependent on funding being available.

Progress of your Application

All SAS claims are normally processed by the HR Organisational Development team within 4-6 weeks* on the proviso that the hardcopy application form has been received.

* However, this may take longer during the first term due to high volume of applications received at this time.

Please note: Priority is given to those who have received SAS in the previous year and are continuing their studies.  New applications will be processed from Term 2 (January 2018).

Once authorised, contributions will be forwarded to:

  • UCL Fees Office (for UCL qualifications) and will be applied to your Portico record.

  • Accounts payable (for external qualifications). Payments will be made via expense claim form and paid directly into your bank account.

You will be sent system generated emails (to your UCL email account) at each stage of the application process:

  • when your hard copy application has been received within HR Organisational Development.

  • when it has been approved for payment.

You can also track the progress of your application by logging into the system (above) and viewing the status of your current application (and previous applications).

For staff studying at UCL - once your SAS contribution has been approved and paid, this will show on your Portico record.


Please note that the application deadline for the Study Assistance Scheme (SAS) 2017/18 (and previous years) has passed.

Please contact for further information.

For further information

With the following subject header 'SAS_[year of application]_ [your name]_[SAS ref no (if applicable]’  
e.g. SAS_1617_John Smith_ref 3045
020 3108 7167
020 7679 0637
020 31087284