UCL Human Resources


Study Assistance Scheme

The Study Assistance Scheme (SAS) is an employee benefit which provides financial support for UCL staff seeking to gain qualifications to support their work and careers.

Application windows for 2023/24:

Application dates for the 2023/24 academic year are indicated below:

First term     Monday 25th September 2023 to Friday 1st December 2023
Second termMonday 8th January 2024 to Sunday 10th March 2024
Third termMonday 22nd April 2024 to Sunday 2nd June 2024

You are welcome to apply throughout the above application windows. We encourage you to complete your application ahead of the closing date and check our website regularly for updates.

Applications are processed after the application window has closed. You can expect to know the outcome of your application within three weeks of the closing date.


  • If at any point in the year UCL exceeds its SAS funding budget, a notice will be placed on this website, and we will no longer accept new applications.

  • UCL’s Organisational Development reserves the right to close the scheme early in this situation.

Eligibility Criteria

  1. You must be a UCL staff member with at least 12 months of employment remaining.
  2. You must have successfully passed your probation period at the time of applying.  The UCL Induction and Probation Policy has information about this. Organisational Development will perform an independent probation check through HR Services for all applications that meet the eligibility criteria.
  3. Courses must be credit-bearing and lead to a qualification.
  4. Courses must relate to your area of work and support your job role at UCL.
  5. Courses must not be full-time. Examples of eligible courses are: Part-time, short course, day/block release, evening, part-time distance learning, correspondence, and self-paced courses.
  6. You must have enrolled on your course of study before you apply for SAS funding.
  7. Applications must be authorised by your line manager using the below statement via email:

"As [name]'s line manager I confirm the below:

[name]’s SAS application has my full support.

The course is relevant to their area of work and will support their role at UCL.

[name] is a UCL member of staff and passed their probation period on [date].

[name] has 12 months of funded employment remaining.”

Please note that if one or more of the below points describes your situation, you would not be eligible for SAS funding.

  • Honorary staff.

  • Temporary and agency staff.

  • All UCL Staff with less than 12 months remaining on their contract.

  • Applicants that have not provided all evidence within the application window.

  • Staff enrolled on full-time courses.  

  • Staff studying for a professional accountancy qualification. The support for qualifications such as this is provided by the Finance Division. Further details on this can be found on Support Package for Professional Accountancy Qualifications.

  • Applicants who currently receive £865 or more from a UCL department or another UCL scheme. If your department contributes less than £865, the SAS may still contribute to make up the difference.

You must meet the SAS conditions set out below 


  • If your qualification will take more than one year to complete, you will need to resubmit an application and updated evidence for each year of study, as it will not be automatically renewed. 

  • You can only receive a SAS grant towards one course of study each academic year.

  • Textbooks, professional body memberships and any other costs unrelated to course tuition fees are not covered by SAS funding.

  • Additional funding for overseas students is out of scope for SAS. If you are classified as an overseas student, you can request to receive financial assistance to cover the difference between Home/EU student fees and overseas student fees through your department. To be eligible for this, your head of department will need to confirm that they consent to this discretionary arrangement. ​​​Please note that the HoD approval form cannot be used to notify of this arangement as the SAS team does not oversee this process. For further informaiton, please refer to question 12 under the FAQs below.

  • If you are in receipt of SAS and you voluntarily leave UCL employment, at any time between starting your course and 12 months after completion, you will be asked to repay. Repayment will be calculated on a pro-rata basis from the course start date to your last paid day at UCL.

  • If your circumstances change and you must withdraw from your course after applying for SAS, please inform the SAS team on sas@ucl.ac.uk so that we can re-allocate the funding.

How much will SAS contribute to my studies?

The SAS can contribute 50% of the total cost of your course (fees + examination costs*) for the relevant academic year, up to a maximum cap of £865 for an academic year.


  • If your course fees for the academic year are £200, SAS would contribute £100.
  • If your course fees were £3000, SAS would contribute the maximum allowable amount of £865.


  • The SAS contribution will be calculated based on one attempt at each examination. If you need to re-sit, you will need to pay the full examination fee for any further attempts.
  • Backdated SAS applications to previous academic years will not be accepted.

How to apply

  1. Speak to your line manager to approve your proposed SAS application and get approval from your Head of Department
  2. Enrol on your chosen course of study
  3. Gather the following documents for your application: 
  • Your line manager's approval statement as indicated under point 7 of the Eligibility Criteria - this can be an email from your line manager or a signed PDF.

  • Proof of course enrolment/statement of student status - this must show the qualification title, course duration and part-time student status

  • Proof of the total course cost and yearly cost (if applicable) and that it has been paid in full (non-UCL courses only).

  • Your head of department’s approval document linked below:

4. Submit your online SAS application form via the Term 3 SAS Application Form below

If your application is successful:

  • UCL courses: The SAS contribution will be deducted from the student fees.

  • Non-UCL courses: The SAS grant will be paid via UCL’s general expense payment form.

2023/24 Term 3 SAS Application Form - Applications are open


    1. What is the best format for my line manager to submit approval?
    • The approval can be an email showing your line manager’s email signature sent to the SAS mailbox sas@ucl.ac.uk or a signed PDF which applicants can upload with their application form.
    • The information required from your line manager is indicated under point 7 of the eligibility criteria above.
    2. I am currently on secondment for 12 months but am then returning to my permanent role within UCL. Would I be eligible to apply?

    Yes, you would be eligible for SAS as the role you are returning to is permanent. We advise that you discuss with both Line Managers (‘host’ and ‘home’), to ensure that they are both happy to support your application and any change in working patterns.

    3. I was in receipt of SAS last year. Do I need to complete another application for this year?

    Yes. If your qualification will take more than one year to complete, you will need to resubmit an application for each year of study, as it will not be automatically renewed. Your line manager’s approval, enrolment/statement of part-time student status, HoD approval and payment evidence will need to be updated to reflect the current academic year’s SAS application. 

    4. How will my SAS award be deducted from my UCL student fees?
    • Once your SAS application is approved by the SAS team, the SAS team will notify the Student Fees Office who will deduct the approved SAS amount from your Portico record.
    • If you have further questions about your student fees, please contact the Student Fees Office at fees@ucl.ac.uk.
    5. What is the expense claim procedure for non-UCL courses?
    • Once your SAS application is approved by the SAS team, they will send you a general expense claim form to complete, sign and date, and return to the SAS mailbox sas@ucl.ac.uk.
    • Your form will be authorised by the budget holder in Organisational Development. The SAS team will then send your claim to Accounts Payable to make the payment directly into your bank account. 
    6. When will I know if my SAS application has been successful?
    • Once the application window has closed, we will complete the final review of all applications.
    • Application outcomes are communicated within 3 weeks of the application deadline.
    • Applicants will be notified shortly after they have submitted their application if they do not meet the eligibility criteria.
    7. How can I confirm whether my course will be covered by SAS?

    Courses must be credit-bearing and lead to a qualification. They must not be full-time courses. If you are unsure whether your course is eligible, please email sas@ucl.ac.uk.

    8. I am enrolled on a non-UCL course, how much of the course do I have to pay to be eligible for SAS?
    • For non-UCL courses, applicants are required to have paid the full amount for their course for that academic year.
    • To pass the eligibility checks for SAS, you will need to provide receipts to evidence this payment.
    9. I am unable to afford my fees in full for the academic year and have entered an instalment plan with my provider. Can I still apply for SAS?

    Please contact the SAS team via sas@ucl.ac.uk to discuss your situation.

    10. I started my course 2 years ago, am I able to receive SAS as a backdated payment?

    No. backdated SAS applications to previous academic years will not be accepted.

    11. I am currently in receipt of £500 departmental funding towards the cost of my degree, will I also be eligible for SAS?
    • If you are already in receipt of departmental funding of £865 or more, you will not be eligible for the scheme.
    • If your department contributes less than £865, SAS can provide a contribution to make up the difference.
    12. I am considered as an overseas applicant for my degree. How am I able to receive a reduction in my fees through SAS?
    • First, you will need to speak to your head of department. With their agreement, you will be able to pay the same as Home/EU students and they may provide financial assistance to cover the rest of your student fees which will remain at the total for overseas students.
    • Your department will need to notify the student fees team that they are happy to cover the difference between the overseas and home fees rate on fees@ucl.ac.uk The student fees team oversee and manage the adjustments to fees. The SAS team are not involved in this step.
    • Once you have received the consent from your head of department, we then encourage you to apply for SAS.
    • Please note, if you are an overseas student and your department cannot provide you with financial assistance, you would still be able to apply for SAS, but you would not receive a reduction in your fees.
    13. Do you have a list of eligible courses?

    UCL staff undertake a very wide range of courses. There currently is no preferred list of education providers or courses for SAS purposes. The course must not be full-time, your line manager must provide their full support and confirm that it relates to your work.

    14. Is the SAS the same as the staff learning and development funding?

    No. Staff Learning and Development funding is at the discretion of your department and is agreed between yourself and your department. You can find further information in UCL’s Policy for Funding for Staff Learning and Development.

    We will continue to evaluate the process for continuous improvement opportunities going forward and would welcome your feedback at any time at sas@ucl.ac.uk